Fauna on the Canaries – Animals on La Palma

The fauna on the Canarian Islands comprises above all, many kinds of reptiles an birds. Among the 50 bird species on the Canaries, some endemic species have developed despite the connection to the mainland: e.g. the Laurel Pigeon, which is mainly to be found in the laurel woods of La Palma, and the Trocaz Pigeon. To the amphibians and reptiles of the herpetological fauna of the Canaries belongs the Canary Lizard or Gallotia, which is the most common reptile. From the sea up to the mountains, there are no dangerous animals for human beings, like e.g. poisonous snakes and scorpions.

Goats on La PalmaOn La Palma, you find, apart from domestic animals like sheep, cattle and goats as well as introduced moufflons, and numerous wild rabbits – which can be chased at certain times with dogs bred particularly for this purpose – no other species of bigger vertebrates.

Animals on La Palma – Selection

Southern Tenerife Lizard – Gallotia g. galloti

Southern Tenerife Lizard on La Palma In almost all areas of the Canarian Islands, you come across the gallotia, the wall lizards of the Canary Islands. Apart from its genus form, it is also represented with sub-species: the small Boettger’s Lizard “Gallotia caesaris gomerae” on El Hierro and La Gomera, the Western Canaries Lizard “Gallotia galloti palmae” on Tenerife and La Palma, and the “Gallotia galloti eisentrauti” on Tenerife. The sleek females and young ones of the species are marked by a brownish colour with bright lengthways stripes, spreading from their head across the whole body. Slightly bigger and stronger seemingly are the males. They are darkish brown to black and have blue spots at the throats’ sides. They take baths in the sun on warm stone walls, they hide in the walls’ scratches or under dry leaves, they dart across lava debris, sand and earth. Only if you behave quietly, the Canary Lizards can be observed very well: when they are eating, or quarelling – and now they even utter special noises. If they feel threatened, they throw off their tail – which will regrow later on. While the natural enemy of the lizard is distracted through the twitching tail, the lizard itself remains far away in absolute immobility, until the danger is gone.  >>Pictures of the Southern Tenerife Lizard

The Tenerife Gecko – Tarentola delalandii

Tenerife Gecko - Tarentola delalandii on La PalmaOn the Canaries, the Tarentolae are present in almost every house. They belong to the family of the Geckonideae, which have populated the earth for already 50 million years – with up to the present day 97 known genus and 1081 species. In the Canaries, there are, depending on the island, some few sub-species, which resemble each other above all through the characteristics of their large eyes and broad toes and differ through varied colours that are in adddition often striped up to transparent. Here, they are mainly active at night, they utter strange noises from time to time, and they consistently eat the insects, which they chase running in high speed along the walls and on the rooms’ ceiling – the latter against the laws of gravity, but – this is proven – on the basis of atomic gravitational forces. During day time, you can sometimes discover the wall geckos outside, and occasionally even lying in the sun.

The Monarch – Danaus plexippus

The Monarch – Danaus plexippus is a butterfly from the family of the Nymphalidae. It has reddish-brownish wings with black veins and edges, on which two rows of white dots are visible. The wings span up to 10 cm. From the middle to the end of July, the females lay their eggs on leaves and stalks of the Mexican Butterfly Weed or Blood flower, as it is also called (lat.: Asclepias curassavica). A few days later, the grubs strip the plants completely off their leaves. This Mexican Butterfly Weed contains poisonous substances that make grubs and butterflies inedible for their enemies. Afterwards, the grubs look for a suitable place – mostly at the under side of the leaves – in order to pupate. After two weeks of pupation, a new butterfly hatches out. >>Pictures of the Monarch in different stages of development

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Fauna of the Sea

Fauna of the Sea La Palma

The islands of the Canaries in the middle of the Atlantic drop steeply into the sea. The fresh waters of the Canarian stream are extremely deep and have a rich animal and plant life. The volcanic formations under water provide living space for an interesting and colourful sea fauna and supply enthusiastic divers with the best diving areas in cold waters with a wide range of vision. Some species of the sea inhabitants remain loyal to their location and appear often, while others are shy and difficult to sight: Some rays, for example, hide skillfully in underwater caves or disguise themselves near the ground. The variety of the sea inhabitants ranges from the seahorse to the whale, which together with other sea mammals, the dolphins, can quite often be sighted in front of the coast of the Canaries. In between, there are shark-species, various larger fish and the turtle.

Sepia - Cuttlefish on the CanariesCuttlefish – Sepia
from the group of the Spiidae (cuttlefish) lives near the ground of the sea and is seldom on its own. The smaller the cuttlefish are, the larger are their groups. Like most of the other cuttlefish, the Sepia possess a horny beak. Around the mouth, there are ten, mostly relatively short arms. The longer tentacles (1 pair) are hidden in resting position between the other arms. The Sepia are sit-and-wait predators and therefore not as quick as calmars. They get their main impulse from an edge of fins reaching in the form of a band around their body and providing them with wave-like movements for the thrust.

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