|Echium wildpretii on Tenerife|
The lava flows on the flanks of Teide weather to a very thin, but nutrient and mineral rich soil that supports a diverse number 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 1000–2100 m, covering the middle slopes of the volcano, and having an alpine timberline 1000 m lower than that of continental mountains of similar latitude. At higher altitudes, the Las Cañadas caldera provides sufficient shelter for more fragile species such as the Canary Island cedar (Juniperus cedrus), and the Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis) to grow.
The most dominant plant species in the Teide National Park are the Teide white broom (Spartocytisus supranubius), which has a white and pink flower; the Canary Island wallflower (Erysimum scoparium), which has white and violet flowers; and the Teide bugloss (Echium wildpretii), whose red flowers form a pyramid up to 3m in height. The Teide Daisy (Argyranthemum teneriffae) can be found at altitudes close to 3,600m above sea level. The Teide Violet (Viola cheiranthifolia) can be found right up to the summit of the volcano, 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 acquiring semi-spherical forms, acquiring a downy or waxy cover, reducing the exposed leaf area, and having a high flower production. Flowering takes place in the late spring or early summer, in the months of May and June.
The Teide National Park contains a huge range of invertebrate fauna, over 40% of which are endemic species, with 70 species only being found in the National Park. The invertebrate fauna include spiders, beetles, dipterans, hemipterans, and hymenopterae.
In contrast, Teide national park has only a limited variety of vertebrate fauna. Ten species of bird nest in the park. These include the blue chaffinch (Fringilla teydea teydea); Berthelot’s pipit (Anthus berthelotii berthelotii); the wild canary (Serinus canaria); and a subspecies of kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis).
Three endemic reptile species are also 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 species 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.
|Southern Tenerife Lizard (Gallotia galloti galloti).|