Monchique Geology, Flora, Fauna

The Geology

 

The town of Monchique (458m.) is located in a pass between the two peaks of Foia (902m.) and Picota (774m.). The two massifs are of volcanic origin (hence the thermal waters in Caldas emerging at 32ºC.), and are made of a rare type of Syenite (a type of granite). Schists predominate in the lower parts.

The Flora
The soil is generally acid in Monchique, and the original vegetation consists of Ulex Minor, Arenaria Montana, Ilex Aquifolium, Arbutus and all sorts of Rhododendrons and heather. A great part of the Chestnut trees and Cork trees which were native to this mountain have unfortunately been replaced in the last decades by extensive plantations of Eucalyptus and Pine trees for quick profit. This short sighted approach is now being slowly reversed.

 

The Fauna
The Monchique hills are host to several interesting and rare species, which led to the classification of this area as a protected zone under the 'Corine Biotope scheme': For the specialist, here is a list of rare indigenous fauna.

 

MAMMALS:
Mustela putoris
Lutra lutra
Genetta genetta
Herpestes ichneum
Felis silvestris
Lynx pardina

 

BIRDS:
Milvus migrans
Circaetus gallicus
Hieraaetus pennatus
Streptopelia turtur
Caprimulgus europaeus
Dendrocopus minor
Galerida theklae
Lullula arborea
Anthus campestris
Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Sylvia undata
Sylvia hortensis
Ficedula hypoleuca
Cyanopica cyana

 

AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:
Salamandra salamandra
Triturus boscai
Alytes cisternasii
Discoglossus galganoi
Pelobates cultripes
Bufo bufo
Bufo calamita
Hyla meridionalis
Rana perezi
Mauremys leprosa
Hemydactylusturcicus
Blanus cinereus
Lacerta schreiberi
Pocarcis bocagei
Podarcis hispanica
Psammodromus algirus
Psammodromus hispanicus
Chalcides bedriagai
Coluber hippocrepis
Elaphe scalaris
Macroprotodon cuccullatus
Vipera latastei

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