Greece Fauna and Flora
Fauna. – The fauna of Greece is essentially Mediterranean in character and zoogeographically belongs to the Mediterranean sub-region of the Palearctic region Among the Mammals, the Carnivores are represented by the jackal, which extends its Asian distribution area on the southern regions of eastern Europe, by the wolf, from the fox, from the brown bear of the Epirus mountains, from the wild cat, from the Parisian lynx, from various martens; the lion, now extinct in Greece, lived there in historical times. The Insectivores are represented by the hedgehog, the blind mole, various species of shrews; the Chiroptera from a fair number of bats; the Rosicanti include various squirrels, dormice, various species of mice, voles, hare, porcupine. Among the Artiodactyls, wild boar, roe deer, fallow deer.
For the Birds we will notice how Greece is the region through which a large number of migrating northern birds pass to the south and how, in Greece itself, many of these establish their winter quarters. Thus the woodcock, the snipe, the lapwing, the alcyon, the lark, etc. Also of note for the Greek avifauna are the pelican, the sultan, the raven, the calender, various species of sparrows, the griffon vulture, the banded eagle, various hawks, the dwarf owl, etc.
Among the reptiles there are various colubers, numerous species of lizards, geckos, the stellion. The Amphibians are represented by various species of frogs, toads, newts. The invertebrates appear in the Greek fauna with a wealth of species of insects, whose orders are all richly represented, of terrestrial molluscs, of arachnids, of freshwater crustaceans, etc.
Flora and vegetation. – The Greek flora is part of the Mediterranean Region and according to A. Engler precisely of the Central Mediterranean Province. The scarce rainfall and the rather high temperature have their influence on the vegetation, but the abundance of mountain ranges means that even in the heart of summer no signs of drought, because the mountains stop the hot southern winds.
The vegetation and flora are very varied in relation especially to the nature of the soil. Three regions can be distinguished.
The lower region includes the littoral which is largely Mediterranean, the great plains of Thessaly, Boeotia, Phocis, Attica, Argolis, etc., and most of the islands. Here the following formations are found: beach or ammophilous formation, characterized by Cakile, Medicago murina, Salsola, Pancratium, Cyperus Kalli, Polygonum maritimum, etc.; formation of swampy depressions and brackish places (alipeda) with many herbaceous plants (Eryngium creticum, Bupleurum semicompositum and Marschalli, Iris monophylla, Erythraea maritima, Phragmites, Alopecurus, etc.) and woody (Tamarix, Lycium). Formation of uncultivated fields, with numerous thistles (Echinops graecus, Notobasis, Scolymus, Onopordon, Kentrophyllum etc.); formation of low fruit trees (Cistus, Genista, Anthyllis Hermanniae, Phlomis fruticosa, Poterium spinosum, Thymus capitatus) sometimes consisting mainly of a single species, so much so that we find only Thymus capitatus in Attica, while in the hills near Krabasarâs and in Arta only Phlomis fruticosa ; formation of spots and evergreen fruits with Myrtus, Arbutus, Erica, Rubus, Rosa, Ceratonia, Phyllirea, Cercis, Quercus ilex and coccifera, Juniperus ; formation of the wild olive. Such formations are observed in the plains and hills. In humid places, near the banks and banks of rivers, Platanus orientalis is formed mixed with poplars and willows; the formation of the Quercus coccifera it rises up to 1000 meters above sea level and that of Pinus halepensis also goes up to 1000 meters. and joins the great woods.
In the mountain and subalpine region, which extends from 1000 to 1800 m., There are: the formation of mixed forests with evergreen and deciduous trees (Quercus pubescens, ilex, coccifera ; Phyllirea, Cercis, Ulmus, Ostrya, Platanus, Castanea, Laurus); in some places the woods are made up only of Fraxinus excelsior (Prámanta in Epirus), in others of deciduous oaks (Acaia, Elis, Messenia), in others finally of chestnut (Eubea, Monte Ida, etc.). The beech formation includes the northern regions of Greece between 900 and 1800 m, while that of the larch pine forms forests from 1000-1600 m. in several territories: in Crete and Messene this formation is replaced by cypress. The fir goes up to m. 1200 and in some places up to m. 1800 and 1900; its formation consists of Abies cephalonica and Apollinis mixed with other woody plants (Pyrus, Quercus, Pinus laricio and leucodermis, Juniperus foetidissima and stone fruit, etc.).
The alpine region starts from 1500 to 1800 msm and goes up to the highest peaks: in its lower limit there are junipers and firs and above meadows and pastures, with a very rich flora and vegetation and numerous endemic species, but species abound common with the Central European Alps. Among the most notable are: Anemone blanda ; Ranunculus oreophilus, demissus, cupreus, cadmicus, brevifolius ; Corydalis parnassica; Viola chelmea, cretica, delphinantha ; Parnassic Silene, Barbeyana ; Dianthus ventricosus, tymphresteus ; Erodium Guicciardi, chrysanthum; Trifolium Ottonis ; Astragalus apollineus ; Potentilla deorum, kionaea; Parnassic herniaria ; Sempervivum reginae Amaliae ; Carum Heldreichii, Crepis bithynica ; Myosotis olympica ; Linaria peloponnesiaca ; Veronica thessalica, Armeria maiellensis; Crocus veluchensis, Sieberi ; Fritillaria Guicciardi, Muscari Heldreichii ; many Ciperaceae and Graminaceae.