Wildlife of Cyprus

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Cypriot Mouflon

The wildlife of Cyprus includes its flora and fauna and their natural habitats. Cyprus has a rich flora and a diverse fauna albeit with relatively few mammals. Like most modern countries, the natural habitats in Cyprus have been steadily disappearing, currently retaining only 18% of its original habitat due to rapid urbanization, usage of forests for commercial purposes, tourism and various other reasons.[1] One of the unique features of Cyprus' habitats is the wild and sharp differences in elevations and habitats in different parts of the island as well as different climate conditions, all of which supply a diverse habitat for a unique array of fauna and flora.[2]

Fauna[edit]

Amphibians[edit]

The fauna of Cyprus has three amphibians.

Birds[edit]

Cyprus also has over 380 identified species of bird due to being on routes of migrations between Africa to Europe and western Asia including Eleonora's falcon, Flamingo and the Imperial Eagle.

Mammals[edit]

Cyprus is currently home to 21 known mammals, of which three are endangered.[3] The largest wild animal and mammal currently residing in Cyprus is the endemic Cypriot Mouflon. Other notable mammals are the large critically endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal[4] and the endemic Cypriot Mouse, which the only remaining endemic rodent on the Mediterranean islands.[5]

Reptiles[edit]

Most of the reptiles of Cyprus are harmless, and non-venomous such as Hierophis cypriensis(Schätti, 1985) and Typhlops vermicularis(Merrem, 1820). Among the snakes, Telescopus fallax and Malpolon monspessulanus are nominally venomous, but neither aggressive nor particularly dangerous. In contrast, the Cyprian blunt-nosed viper, Macrovipera lebetina lebetina, though not aggressive, is a large, front-fanged viper. Its bite is dangerous even to large mammals, including man.[6] Three of the reptile species on Cyprus, including Macrovipera lebetina, are endangered.[3]

Cyprus has several species of lizards and a few species of turtles such as Loggerhead sea turtle(Caretta caretta, (Linnaeus, 1758)).

Flora[edit]

The flora of Cyprus contains about 1800 total identified species, about 128 of which are endemic.[1] The flora currently include various invasive species such as Prickly Pears and the Yellow Oxalis.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cyprus Mediterranean forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  2. ^ World Wildlife Fund (2001). "Cyprus Ecoregion profile". WildWorld Ecoregion Profile. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  3. ^ a b "Biodiversity and Protected Areas - Cyprus". EarthTrends. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  4. ^ "Animal Info - Cyprus". Animal Info. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  5. ^ Wagner, Thomas (October 13, 2006). "'Living fossil' mouse found on Cyprus". North County Times. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  6. ^ Atatür, M. K and Göçmen, B. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Cyprus (1st Edition), Ege Üniversitesi, Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 170, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 63 pp. Retrieved 2010-07-21.