Teide - Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna

The lava flows on the flanks of Teide weather to a very thin but nutrient- and mineral-rich soil that supports a wide variety of plant species. Vascular flora consists of 168 plant species, 33 of which are endemic to Tenerife.

Forests of Canary Island Pine (Pinus canariensis) occur from 1,000 to 2,100 metres (3,300–6,900 ft), covering the middle slopes of the volcano and reaching an alpine tree line 1,000 m (3,300 ft) lower than that of continental mountains at similar latitudes. At higher altitudes, the Las Cañadas caldera provides sufficient shelter for more fragile species to grow, such as the Canary Island juniper (Juniperus cedrus), and the Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis).

Plant species endemic to the Teide National Park include: the Teide white broom (Spartocytisus supranubius), which has white flowers; Descurainia bourgaeana, a shrubby crucifer with yellow flowers; the Canary Island wallflower (Erysimum scoparium), which has violet flowers; and the Teide bugloss (Echium wildpretii), whose red flowers form a pyramid up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in height. The Teide daisy (Argyranthemum teneriffae) can be found at altitudes close to 3,600 m (11,800 ft) above sea level, and the Teide violet (Viola cheiranthifolia) can be found right up to the summit, making it the highest flowering plant in Spain.

These plants are adapted to the tough environmental conditions on the volcano, such as high altitude, intense sunlight, extreme temperature variations, and lack of moisture. Adaptations include hemispherical forms, a downy or waxy cover, a reduction of the exposed leaf area, and a high flower production. Flowering takes place in the late spring or early summer, in May and June.

Teide National Park contains a huge range of invertebrate species, over 40% of which are endemic species, and 70 of which are found only in the National Park. The invertebrate fauna includes spiders, beetles, dipterans, hemipterans, and hymenopterae.

In contrast, Teide National Park has only a limited variety of vertebrate fauna. Ten species of bird nest there, including the Blue Chaffinch (Fringilla teydea teydea), Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotii berthelotii), the Atlantic Canary (Serinus canaria) and a subspecies of kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis).

Three endemic reptile species are found in the park: the Canary Island lizard (Gallotia galloti galloti), the Canary Island wall gecko (Tarentola delalandii), and the Canary Island skink (Chalcides viridanus viridanus). The only mammals native to the park are bats, the most common of which is Leisler’s bat (Nycatalus leisleri). Other mammals, such as the mouflon, the rabbit, the house mouse, the black rat, the feral cat, and the Algerian Hedgehog, have all been introduced to the park.

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