Wildlife of Cyprus
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. 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.
- Family: Bufonidae
- Bufo viridis Laurenti, 1768 (Green Toad)
- Family: Hylidae
- Hyla savignyi Audoin, 1827 (Green Frog)
- Family: Ranidae
- Rana ridibunda Pallas, 1771 (Marsh Frog)
Most of the reptiles of Cyprus are harmless, and non-vemomous. Among the snakes, Telescopus fallax and Malpolon monspessulanus are nominally venomous, but neither aggressive nor particularly dangerous. Both are back-fanged, harmless unless they manage to bite, hold onto, and penetrate body parts small enough to be accessed by their fangs (such as a finger).
Three of the reptile species on Cyprus, including Macrovipera lebetina, are endangered.
Without allowing for future discoveries and changes of taxonomy, the reptiles of Cyprus include the following:
- Mauremys caspica (Gmelin, 1774) (Caspian Turtle, Stripe-necked Turtle)
- Caretta caretta (Linnaeus, 1758) (Loggerhead Turtle)
- Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 175) (Green Turtle)
- Family: Gekkonidae
- Cyrtopodion kotschyi (Steindachner, 1870) (Kotsch’s Gecko)
- Hemidactylus turcicus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Turkish Gecko, “Mischaro”)
- Laudakia stellio (Linnaeus, 1758) (Spiny Lizard)
- Family: Chamaeleontidae
- Chamaeleo chamaeleon (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mediterranean Chameleon, “Hamolyo”)
- Family: Lacertidae
- Acanthodactylus schreiberi Boulenger, 1918 (Fringe-toed Lizard)
- Lacerta troodica Werner, 1936 (Troodos Lizard)
- Ophisops elegans Ménétriés, 1832 (Snake-eyed Lizard, Field Lizard)
- Family: Scincidae
- Ablepharus budaki Göçmen, Kumlutas & Tosunoglu, 1996 (Budak’s Snake-eyed Skink)
- Chalcides ocellatus (Forskal, 1775) (Ocellated Skink, “Bizaska”)
- Eumeces schneiderii (Daudin, 1802) (Schneider’s Skink)
- Mabuya vittata (Olivier, 1804) (Banded Skink)
- Family: Typhlopidae
- Typhlops vermicularis Merrem, 1820 (Worm Snake)
- Family: Colubridae
- Coluber jugularis Linnaeus. 1758 (Large Whip Snake)
- Coluber cypriensis Schätti, 1985 (Cyprus Whip Snake)
- Coluber najadum (Eichwald, 1831) (Dahl’s Whip Snake, “Arrow Snake”)
- Coluber nummifer Reuss, 1834 (Coin Snake)
- Eirenis modestus (Martin, 1838) (Dwarf Snake)
- Natrix natrix (Linnaeus, 1758) (Grass Snake)
- Telescopus fallax (Fleischmann, 1831) (Cat Snake)
- Malpolon monspessulanus (Hermann, 1804) (Montpellier Snake, “Yellow Snake”)
- Family: Viperidae
- Vipera lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758) (Blunt-nosed Viper, “Batsalli, Deaf Snake”)
Cyprus is currently home to 21 known mammals, of which three are endangered. 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 and the endemic Cypriot Mouse, which the only remaining endemic rodent on the Mediterranean islands.
The flora of Cyprus contains many endemic species, with about 1800 total identified species, about 128 species of which are endemic. The flora currently include various invasive species such as Prickly Pears and the Yellow Oxalis.
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- 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.
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