Fauna And Flora (SOCOTRA ISLAND)

    The long geological isolation of the Socotra archipelago and its fierce heat and drought has combined to create a unique and spectacular endemic flora (which may therefore be vulnerable to introduced species such as goats and to climate change). The known Socotra flora stands at over 900 species, including some 300 endemics, 16 of which are restricted to Abd Al Kuri and another 10 confined to Samha. From the total of plants species on Socotra there are in Homhil protected area 156 plants, of them 86 are of endemic kinds there are 7 endemic kinds in Homhil only. 20 kinds are sensitive, and one kind is threatened with extinction. On Scand there are about (190) plants from the total of the endemic species of the island. One of the most famous Botanical curiosities of Socotra is the Dragon's blood tree; (Dracaena cinnabari) the tree is so named because any injury to the bark results in a deep red liquid secreting from the scar. This tree can found in the higher and low altitudes, from these altitudes such as Scand, Dixam, Homhil, Hajher mountains, Firmhen and other regions on Socotra, on Firmhen itself there are 2 million trees. Only in sheltered valleys and higher mountain areas is the vegetation more luxuriant. Different main types of vegetation can be recognized. The most distinctive is the open deciduous shrub land of coastal plains and low inland hills dominated by the common shrub, Croton socotranus, and tree succulents such as the bizarre Adenium and Dendrosicyos. The higher altitudes are home to a variety of frankincense trees, three endemic Suqotran aloes, and wild pomegranate.
    Soqotra Island has a rich variety of plant and animal species, with a high degree of endemism. About 12 species of mammals are known from Socotra, but all of them have been introduced by man or may occasionally come from the mainland like sheep, goats, camels, cows, cats, donkeys and the civet cat is the only mammals native to Socotra. Ornithologists believe that more detailed study of the ten endemic subspecies will lead to the splitting of some to full specific status, however more than 191 species of birds have been recorded here in Socotra with new species being found every year. Also there are more than 49 species of birds breeding on the island such as Forbes-Watson's Swift, Somali Starling, Gulls, Palm Doves, etc. one of these birds is the ubiquitous Egyptian Vulture, known locally as saeedoh or Al Baladiya, ( Municipal Bird ). from the total of the migrant birds that recorded on the island there is not enough data about that, anyway there are about 120 species of migrant birds arrive to the island during winter and summer of which waders and other coastal birds make up a significant proportion like Sooty-Gulls, Grey Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingoes, etc. There are eight birds species that can be found nowhere else, such as the Socotra Starling Onychognathus frater, the Socotra Sunbird Chalcomitra balfouri, Socotra Sparrow Passer insularis, Socotra Bunting Emberiza socotrana, )( estimated with 1000 specimens )( Socotra Warbler Incana incana, Socotra Cisticola Cisticola haesitatus and Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus. On Sokotra, there are about190 species of butterfly and with a large number of endemics. The reptilian and insects fauna is also very rich 600 species of insects with 90% with high proportion of endemic. Socotra Island is home to more than 680 Species of fishes and about 230 species of hard corals (five are endemics) and 30 species of soft corals. In addition to 300 species of crustacean (nine are endemics), 490 species of mollusks, and 230 species of algae. Socotra is extremely rich of the reptile fauna comprising 19 out of 22 endemic species. Nesting of sea turtles, probably Green Turtles but possibly Hawksbills, takes place on the north coast.