Cyprus Wildlife - Cyprus Flora and Fauna
Three major flora zones converge on Cyprus those being Europe, Asia and Africa, giving rise to 1,750 different species of plants, of which 126 are endemic. In the Akamas Peninsula the number of species is approximately 530, of which 33 are endemic.
Aleppo Pine forests, Phoenician juniper maquis, Rock Rose maquis, and mosaics of Aleppo Pine stands with maquis are the major plant communities of the area. The maquis are characteristic of the Mediterranean climate.
With its approximately 1,800 species and subspecies of flowering plants, Cyprus is an extremely interesting place for nature lovers and has all the attributes which make it a botanist's paradise. Being an island, it is sufficiently isolated to allow the evolution of a strong endemic flowering element. At the same time being surrounded by big continents, it incorporates botanological elements of the neighbouring land masses.
The variety of fauna is equally as impressive: 168 birds, 12 mammals, 20 reptiles and 16 butterfly species have been identified in Cyprus. About 8% of the indigenous plants of the island, 125 different species and subspecies, are endemic. The island's great variety of habitats, attributed to a varied microclimate and geology, is the main reason which contributed to this high number of endemics.
Since Cyprus has always been an island the first arrivals were hippopotami and elephants, which are both excellent swimmers. They arrived around 1,5 million years ago and apart from some shrews and mice, were the only land mammals roaming the island prior to man's arrival here.
The largest wild animal that still lives on the island is the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis orientalis ophion), a rare type of wild sheep that can only be found in Cyprus. Cyprus is used by birds during their migration from Europe to Africa and back, something that has been observed since ancient Greek times. The main reason for that is the occurrence on the island of two very important salt lakes, namely Larnaca and Akrotiri.
Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) and the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) are the jewel of the crown of Cyprus' birds of prey.
Marine animals include seals and turtles, though unfortunately the Monk seal no longer breeds in the coastal sea caves of the island. On the other hand two marine turtles, the Green turtle (Chelona mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) have been found to breed regularly on the island's sandy beaches Akamas Peninsular, the last wilderness
When you plan a visit to a new place, and want to see some of the natural history there, it is difficult to know where to look for the information you need.
If you are planning to visit Cyprus, and want to know where to find orchids there, you need look no further than a new book and video by Joan Hubbard and Pamela Scraton.
The book gives easy but detailed descriptions of all the orchids currently known to be found in Cyprus, with site details, and charts and calendars to help you plan your trip and identify what you find.
The video contains vivid digital photography which will enable you to learn before you come, identify orchids in unusual forms, and will provide you with a lasting record of the visit.
And because we know you will not have access to a VCR in the field, there are thumbnail reminders of each orchid at the back of the text.
All the video footage has been shot in the last twelve months, and contains the first published images of an orchid rediscovered by the authors after 40 years!
When is the main season?
Most of the mountain species can be seen in mid-to-late June. These are the endemic orchids of Cyprus - just a few of the fascinating species you could find here, with the aid of this new book and video.
We have already had mail orders from six different European countries, and some very enthusiastic comments; the book and video are now on sale in Cyprus bookshops.