Before there were snakes on Formentera.......................

the number of species on the small island was incredibly diverse. As is the case everywhere else around the world, many things are changing here as well.

Due to the excessive and unregulated import of e.g. ancient olive trees and palms, creatures such as snakes and the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) have been introduced to the island.
Two types of snakes have become widespread on Formentera,
the horseshoe whip snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) and the ladder snake (Rhinechis scalaris) both non-venomous.

Rhinechis scalaris
Rhinechis scalaris; Ladder snake;

 

The palm weevil destroys species belonging to the Arecaceae genus (commonly known as palm trees). An effective method of eliminating them has not yet been found (Jan 2015). So far, the method of choice has been to fell and burn infected trees

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus; palm weevil

The diversity of insect species on Formentera is in sharp decline, and increasing agricultural activity is a strain on the natural habitat. Due to subsidies from the EU, ancient biotopes have been cleared, yet remain unused, and the habitats of flora and fauna have been upset.

Agricultural activity is increasing, and with it comes the annihilation of insects. Insecticides such as Diflubenzuron (Dimilin etc.) and Bacillus thuringiensis are in widespread use. Diflubenzuron is a chitin synthesis inhibitor which disrupts the development of insects, from the egg to the adult stage.

It destroys not only "pests," but also useful insects and many other living creatures at the same time.

In some parts of the island, the geckoes are starving from malnutrition, and the bat population has been decimated. Birds come less often or no longer breed. Spiders have also disappeared from the contaminated regions.

 

 

 

 

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©2018 Barbara Klahr.