Cyprus presents a particularly important biodiversity:
- It is located in one of the Hotspot land for Biodiversity, in the Mediterranean basin (25, 000 plant species) the second more important after the Tropical Andes.
- It is considered as one of 10 «mini hotspot» of the Mediterranean because of its high endemism and its high flora diversity (Medail & Quezel, 1999).
- It is located in one of the centers of endemism of the Earth, in the Mediterranean basin (13 000 endemic - 52%).
- 80% of the flora species that according the European instructions about the ecosystems must be protected are Mediterranean.
- It is located in one of the centers of origin of crop species on the earth (Xatzixampis, 2007).
So far, in Cyprus have been recorded 1908 different species, subspecies, varieties, forms and hybrids of plants. This number includes all the native plants and the non-native plants (exotic plants that grow on their own), without taking into account crops, and is based on published data. The endemic plants of Cyprus, which are confined exclusively to our island, are about 140 (endemism rate 7.3%) and constitute the largest part of the flora of our island.
As far as it regards the fauna of Cyprus, in Cyprus had been recorded so far 30 species of mammals from which 16 are bats, 10 species are terrestrial mammals, three are dolphins and one species of seal. The biggest of them is the endemic mouflon (Ovis gmelini ophion). Additionally, Cyprus, is located in one of the eight main migration corridors of the birds from Europe to Africa and vice versa. The birds that have been recorded in Cyprus so far are about 370 species. Of these, 53 are considered as endemic and the remaining 317 are migratory. In addition, in the island one can find 22 reptile species of which eight are snakes, 11 are lizards and three are turtles, two turtles of the sea and one of the sweet water. There are also three species of amphibians (frogs). Finally, the diversity of insects found in Cyprus is also rich; from which 52 species are butterflies and nine of them are endemic species.
The Cyprus Center for Environmental Research and Education will choose for you every month a species of the flora or of the fauna of our place as the "Species of the Month" and will provide you with basic information about this species! The Cyprus flora and fauna is one of the most precious treasures of our island. The study of this treasure and we make us also richer...