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Bedriaga’s Rock Lizard / Istockphoto

June 27, 2019. Life / Islands

Mediterranean Islands

Nicholas D. Holmes, Olivier Langrand, Russell A. Mittermeier, Anthony B. Rylands, Thomas Brooks, Dena R. Spatz, James C. Russell, Wes Sechrest, Federico Mendez Sanchez

The Mediterranean Basin is the second largest biodiversity hotspot and ranks third in terms of botanical diversity. There are nearly 15,000 islands and islets in the Mediterranean.

The eastern part of the Mediterranean is known as the Aegean Sea and is home to approximately 1,400 islands. Until 6,000 BC, dwarf elephants populated these main islands. Their skulls gave birth to the myth of the Cyclops since the central hole for the trunk was considered the orbit of these mythological one-eyed giants.

Further south, the islands of Cyprus (9,251 km2) and Malta (316 km2) are home to extremely rare species.

The Tuscan Archipelago, formed by seven main islands (293 km2)—Elba, Capraia, Montecristo, Giglio, Gorgona, Giannutri, and Pianosa—is located between the Italian Peninsula and the large islands of Corsica (8,748 km2) and Sardinia (24,090 km2).

Sicily (25,711 km2) is separated from the southern tip of the Italian Peninsula by the Strait of Messina. It harbors the active volcano Etna that reaches an altitude of 3,329 meters.

 

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book “Islands” (2018)

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