Socotra Nature


FAUNA


Birds, insects and underwater life which is considered very poorly exploredareas of thisfascinating island has received relatively little attention from the scientific community. There may be also undiscovered species of insectsn Socotra. Because of the persistent monsoon winds, many Socotran insects haveevolved relatively small wings, an adaptation, which prevents them from being blown out to sea. Other arthropods include immense centipedes which can reach a length of more than 20 centimetres and give a nasty pinch, at least two species of freshwater crabs, and huge spiders which spin yellow webs across woodland gaps, harmless to humans, but intimidating nonetheless.

At least 80% of Socotra's reptiles are endemic, and herpetologistsbelieve that there are still several undiscovered species on the island. About 140 species of birds have been recorded here with new species being found every year. The Socotra Bunting, Socotra Starling, Socotra Sunbird, Socotra Sparrow, Socotra Warbler, and Socotra Cystocoele are six species that can be found nowhere else. Ornithologists believe that more detailed study of the ten endemic subspecies will lead to the splitting of some to full specific status. This most obvious bird to the visitor, however, is the ubiquitous Egyptian Vulture, known locally as AlBaladiya Socotri for its habit of cleaning up everything from kitchen waste to human faces.

Outside of Hadibo, Socotra is a wonderfully clean place, thanks in large part to these active scavengers. Few terrestrial mammals live on Socotra although there are some bats and a species of genet. The sea surrounding the island teams with whales and dolphins, however, Sperm Whales, Short-finned Pilot Whales, Spinner, and Bottle-nosed dolphins have all been spotted close to shore.

Socotran waters also abound in fish, ranging from tiny bright-reef dwellers to great spotted Whale Sharks more than 15 meters long.

Crystal clarity makes this a divers dream. Its unique character with Arabia's greatest Biological diversity makes Socotra a potential candidate for designation as either a Natural World Heritage or a MAP biosphere reserve, there is a need to undertake detailed Botanical & Zoological surveys throughout, but most urgent. A trip to Yemen is considered an experience of a way of life long since lost to the modern world, a dream destination of unusual record, a very rich mixture of archaeological, cultural, traditionalarts, natural andhistorical heritage, a picture of a different age.