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Flora & Fauna

Ikaria is an island of wild and unspoilt natural beauty! Here you will find rare flowers, trees and animals that you don't usually see in other areas of Greece.Explore every corner of the island and find the most colourful plants, herbs, wild animals you wish!

There has been little research in Ikaria about its flora and quite unexplored, despite its phytogeographical position in the international scientific community.

The flora of Ikaria consists of 92 families, 401 genera and 829 species. A large number of species found in Ikaria, belong to three families: Leguminosae, Compositae and Gramineae, and there are several species of the families Caryophyllaceae, Cruciferae, Labiatae and Umbelliferae.

In the southern part of the island, some rare endemic species and subspecies are found, including: the paeony of Ikaria (Paeonia mascula cariensis) and in particular the unique species Iberis runemarkii in Plagia. This high degree of endemic plant species is mainly due to the geographical position of the island (near the coast of Asia Minor). The endemic flora comprises 42 species (5%): 15 species are endemics of the island, 14 species are endemic to the islands of the Aegean Sea and 13 species are endemic to Greece.

In recent years, due to human interventions on the island, areas were created, suitable to support new varieties. According to studies, 27% (228 species) of the total flora in Ikaria was a result of human activities, while only 10 % ( 80 species ) was created naturally. The endemic species Linum gyaricum, Verbascum ikaricum, Nigella icarica, Polygonum icaricum, Symphytum icaricum, Rorippa icarica, protected by the Greek Law and included in the European Red List of Globally Threatened plants and animals, in the List of Endangered species in the IUCN (1993), in the category of endangered plants and characterized as rare species.

Other important species are Campanula hagielia (consists in the European Red List of Globally Threatened plants and animals), Pteris dentata (endangered species in Greece and Europe ), Corydalis integra, Muscari macrocarpum and Galanthus ikariea (protected by the Convention CITES), Digitalis cariensis (found only in Ikaria), Dianthus elegans, Symphytum anatolicum etc.

Also, we find a 'Perikathe' in Ikarian dialect, a kind of hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna) that grows in the highlands of Ikaria and its fruit is beneficial for the human body. The English name of this plant is Hawthorn.

The pure Pinus brutia forests and mixed formations of Cupressus sempervirens, are in very good conservation in Ikaria, because the island has not been altered from tourism and extreme human intervention .

In Ikaria, due to its geomorphological structure, a wide range of populations and species in the fauna, are found. Noteworthy is the Hedgehog, which meets in the plain of Faros, endemic reptiles from Asia Minor like the Turkish lizard (Lacerta oertzeni), the gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus), the Snake-eyed Skink (Ablepharus kitaibelii), the Ofisops ( Ophisops elegans), a crocodile (Laudakia stellio), a Lacertidae Lacertinae, the Skoutzikas (laudakia stellio), while the famous ‘Lizard of Ikaria’ (Lacerta oerizeni) is found only in Ikaria. One of the most common snakes of the island is efios Efios (Coluber caspius) and Malpolon insignitus and the protected viper (Vipera xanthina). However, there are no poisonous species.

Ikaria has a very rich bird life (GR143), with rare species such aigaioglaros and the shag. The area is important for breeding raptors and migratory birds like the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus), Bonelli's eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus), Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) and cinereous bunting (Emberiza cineracea). In Ikaria, species of global concern are found, but do not meet the criteria of being an Important Area for Birds, such as: Haliaeetus albicilla, Falconaumanni (3-5 breeding pairs). There are even three protected species of bat: the Rhinolofus mehelyi, the mikromyotida and pyrromyotida.

In Ikaria, there is no conservation status and protection of fauna at national or international level. The main threats of the fauna of the island are the overgrazing of forests, the opening of new roads and agricultural intensification.
In the sea around the island, mainly in the northern part of the island, some endangered species find shelter, such as monks (Monachus monachus), the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba).