IBIZA'S FAUNA

IBIZA'S FAUNA

Ibizaís fauna can be grouped into four main types, brief mention of which is made below: Marine fauna: the Pitiusas islandsí marine fauna is extremely diverse, yet does not include a high proportion of endemic species. This fact can be explained by considering these speciesí capacity for dispersion, and, as a result, their limited degree of genetic isolation. On the other hand, since the Mediterranean Sea dried up five million years ago, the fauna found on the island nowadays has come about through a process of Atlantic re-colonisation, resulting from the opening of Gibraltar. The areas of greatest natural diversity are found on the coasts, both on the rocky sea beds and the ocean areas populated with prairies of Posidonia. Sea bird colonies are an extremely important element within this ecological group. Some have an ecological relation to the Atlantic, where they spend part of their yearly life-cycle. One must not forget the importance of both the cetacean species and sea turtles, with populations which are among the highest in the whole of the Spanish state. Fauna in continental waters: Currently formed by various dozens of invertebrate species of more permanent nature in the form of crustaceans, or in temporary form, normally with species of insects in the larvae cycle stage. Closer to the shore, amphibians are found (frogs and toads) along with marsh birds. Ses Salinas and ses Feixes are the two areas richest in this type of species of fauna, even if there are other smaller marsh areas and water sources where they can also be found. Land fauna: fauna on the PitiŁses islands is conditioned by being of insular nature, by having an arid climate and by being greatly influenced by human activity with its associated impact on ecological systems. Of particular interest are some of the endemic species such as lizards and invertebrates, some of which are extremely old, while others are relatively recent, being offshoots of pre-existing Iberian or Moroccan species brought to the islands by men. The most interesting natural habitats are found on the coast (dunes and, in particular, small islands), humid areas and forest ecosystems. The areas with traditional agriculture are also of great zoological interest. Underground fauna: this is made up of a number of species which inhabit underground caves which include both land and sea species. Crustaceans which live in underground sea water are of particular interest. This group is very particular to the big Balearic islands, where very rare endemic species have been discovered. In the Pitiusas, there are ten caves with thirty-five species, six of which are native species of the Balearic islands.
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