Adriatic BioProvince

This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) includes virtually all of the maritime zones surrounding the Adriatic. Most of the Adriatic has a Mediterranean climate with a pronounced summer drought, although the northeast has frequent winter storms and the northern islands and the Istra Peninsula can experience severe frosts and snowstorms and is probably best described as having a sub-Mediterranean climate. Much of the Adriatic has a classic karst terrain mainly of Cretaceous orgin. However, the geological history of this area is quite complex. Parts of the area including the Adriatic archipelago, the Istra Peninsular and the Apulia promontary are unique in Europe in being of Gondwanan origin. An area, now known as the Adriatic Plate, separated from the northern Gondwanan coast during the Jurassic period and drifted northwards to eventually adhere to southern Europe during the late Tertiary period. During the intervening time it appears to have been an isolated island for a long period in the ancient Tethys Sea. This period of isolation coincides with the early evolution of angiosperms and may be responsible for the many endemic taxa found in this area. Several of these, particularly the candelabriform shrubs, such as Peucedanum packyphyllum (Apiaceae) and the rosette tuft-treelets such as Cyathoselinum palmoides (Apiaceae) have afinities with sub-tropical taxa found in Africa and the Canary Islands. Whatever the legacy, the Adriatic flora is incredibly rich with over 300 endemic taxa and a level of generic endemism comparable to Greece and Turkey. The endemic genera include Degenia (Degenia velebitica), a yellow flowered member of the Brassicaceae restricted to the Velebit Mountain, Cyathoselinum, Petteria and Portenschlagiella.

The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.


Major Ecosystems
Endemic Vascular Plant Flora
Bryophyte Flora
Fungus Flora
Lichen Flora
Invertebrate Fauna
Amphibian Fauna
Reptile Fauna
Bird Fauna
Mammal Fauna
Conservation Status