Fauna and Flora of Porto Santo

 

Fauna



The fauna of Porto Santo is found mainly on the Porto Santo islets, which are a prime location for nesting seabirds.

The fauna on the islets includes nesting birds such as Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), Bulwer’s petrel (Bulweria bulwerii), the band-rumped storm petrel (Oceanodroma castro), the little seawater (Puffinus assimilis baroli), the common tern (Sterna hirundo), the yellow-legged gull (Larus cachinnans atlantis), Berthelot’s pipit (Anthus berthelotii madeirensis), the plain swift (Apus unicolor), the Atlantic canary (Serinus canaria canaria) and the rock sparrow (Petronia petronia madeirensis). The gecko (Teira dugesii jogeri) and two tarantulas native to Porto Santo (Hogna biscoitoi and Hogna schmitzi) are also to be found.

The marine fauna is rich and diverse, largely due to the sinking of the ship ‘Madeirense’. This is a unique spot for scuba diving
 


Flora


Because of its climatic and geological conditions, the flora of Porto Santo Island is found mainly on its islets, which are a favoured location for conservation of the flora of Macaronesia. The Porto Santo islets are protected by the PDM, the Natura Network 2000 and are also part of the Madeira Natural Park. They are rocky places, covered in shrubs and the coastal flora of Macaronesia.

Regarding the flora, shrubs and small trees can be found on the slopes here. Madeira sea stock (Matthiola madeirensis), Madeira spurge (Euphorbia piscatoria), Lotus glaucus, ice plants (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum and Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum) and marmulan (Sideroxylon mirmulans) are species worth seeing.

Lotus loweanus is a native species to Porto Santo and exists only on Cal, Ferro and Cenouras islets.

The vegetation on Cal islet is reputed to have consisted mainly of juniper and marmulan. Marmulan (Sideroxylon mirmulans) is now almost extinct but it is still the only existing native woody shrub. Cima islet is also said to have had many Dragon Trees (Dracaena draco) and many wild olive trees (Olea maderensis).

There is also a wide variety of lichens, especially Roccella tinctoria.
 
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