The Canaries archipelago is one of the biologically richest temperate zones in the world. The rate of endemism is very high for plants (21 %), reptiles (100 %) and invertebrates (39 %). The Canary Island’s vegetation includes 1,992 vascular plants.
In addition, the Canary Islands are also home to five species and 31 sub-species of endemic birds, including the near threatened Bolle’s Laurel Pigeon (Columba bollii), the White-tailed Laurel Pigeon (Columba junoniae) and the Blue Chaffinch (Fringilla teydea). The La Gomera Giant Lizard (Gallotia gomerana) is another iconic endemic species of these islands.
The archipelago has five main major habitats: xerophytic shrub, termophilous forest, laurel forest – a conservation priority and only found in the Macaronesia region –, pine forest, and high mountain shrub.
The marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands is just as exceptional. Deep water coral reefs composed mainly of Lophelia pertusa surround these islands to depths of 50 metres. The Canary Islands are a major hotspot for marine mammals – 29 of the 81 species of whales that exist in the world are found in the waters of the archipelago. Read more