Wildlife of the Mediterranean

  • More than 220 million tourists visit the Mediterranean region each year.
  • Less than 1% of the Mediterranean Sea is protected.
  • Almost 85% of the Mediterranean’s forests have disappeared.
  • Invasive species have become a major component of the Mediterranean ecosystem and have serious impacts on the Mediterranean ecology, endangering many local and endemic Mediterranean species. A first look at some groups of exotic species show that more than 70% of the non-indigenous decapods and about 63% of the exotic fishes occurring in the Mediterranean are of Indo Pacific origin. here

European Mediterranean


Around the web

WWF – Protecting the Mediterranean Environment

Millions flock each year to the region’s white sandy beaches and sparkling blue waters; waters which are home to whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, valuable fish species and other marine life.

The Mediterranean monk seal and Atlantic bluefin tuna are 2 of the Sea’s most imperiled species.

On land, the Mediterranean forest mosaics of cork oaks, cedars, pines and olive trees are home to critically endangered Iberian lynx as well as brown bear, wolf, Barbary deer, and many species of rare birds and plants.

Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub

Complete Mediterranean Wildlife: Photoguide

The only guide currently available for the region, Complete Mediterranean Wildlife describes and illustrates 1500 species commonly found in the world’s most popular holiday destination. Mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and moths, other insects, spiders, slugs and snails, trees and flowering plants are all included, and each section is coded with a symbol for quick reference. From Cyprus in the east to the western end of the Mediterranean, the guide also covers species found in Portugal and the Algarve. While most Mediterranean habitats are low-lying, the range of the guide extends into the foothills of mountains. Shells and animals likely to be seen while snorkelling are also described and illustrated.

Mediterranean Sea – Wikipedia

As a result of the drying of the sea during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, the marine biota of the Mediterranean are derived primarily from the Atlantic Ocean. The North Atlantic is considerably colder and more nutrient-rich than the Mediterranean, and the marine life of the Mediterranean has had to adapt to its differing conditions in the five million years since the basin was reflooded.

The Alboran Sea is a transition zone between the two seas, containing a mix of Mediterranean and Atlantic species. The Alboran Sea has the largest population of Bottlenose Dolphins in the western Mediterranean, is home to the last population of harbour porpoises in the Mediterranean, and is the most important feeding grounds for Loggerhead Sea Turtles in Europe. The Alboran sea also hosts important commercial fisheries, including sardines and swordfish. In 2003, the World Wildlife Fund raised concerns about the widespread drift net fishing endangering populations of dolphins, turtles, and other marine animals. See also: Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance + Invasive species

Mediterranean Chaparral

This subtropical Mediterranean biome, composed of shrub lands and woodlands is called the maquis in Europe. Chaparral is the California name for this biome. Cactus and other water storing plants do well in this environment. The cacti often form dense thickets. Most of the plant growth is leafy and relatively short, less than eight feet tall. It is important for plants to be drought resistant, to survive the short wet winters and long dry summers. The geography of this region begins at the seashore and extends through rolling farmlands, with grazing and cultivation, into the mountains. The climate in this area is unique with the wet season occurring in winter. Many plants that do well in other European areas are unable to thrive in this Mediterranean biome due to the summer drought, with annual rainfall of only 15-40 inches. Temperatures are affected by cold ocean currents and fog, limiting the growing season.