The World of Info

Plants and Animals

Popular destinations GREECE


Plants and Animals


Chios offers a wonderful sight in every season of the flora, but especially in winter and spring, it is a pleasure for the tourist and the botanist. The diversity of species is mainly due to the island's altitude, soil structure and different climatic conditions, which result in a number of microclimates, each with their own vegetation. In addition, the flowering period differs between the mountainous north with its late flowering plants and the flatter south with its early flowering plants.

Behind the beach of Kato Fana on the south coast of Chios one can find a special beach and dune flora, with the holy orchis among others. In the north of Chios is the Marmaro marsh with many typical marsh plants. On the highest mountain of Chios, the Pelineon, species have been found which are only found on this mountain, among them the Atraphaxis billardierei, a dwarf cress from the family of centipedes and the Fritillaria pelinea, a yellow-coloured lapwing flower.

Also in the north is the Kampia Gorge, with many deciduous trees. The cliffs on the east coast of Chios are the habitat of Campanula hagielia of the bell family.

Anatolian Orchid ChiosAnatolian Orchid ChiosPhoto: Sf2000 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Typical of the rich flora of Chios is the presence of many orchid species, more than 80 have been observed, and the end is not yet in sight. Some examples are Ophrys homeri, Ophrys reinholdii var leucotaenia, Ophrys phrygia, Ophrys omegaifera, Ophrys regis-ferdinandii, Anatolian orchid, Ophrys anthropophora, Ophrys pelinaea, Ophrys apollonae, Ophrys saliarisii, Ophrys orphanidea, Ophrys masticorum, Greek spider orchid, Ophrys umbilicata, Ophrys oestrifera, Ophrys sitiaca and Ophrys chiosica.

The mastic tree is found throughout the Mediterranean, but only in the south of Chios are conditions so suitable that the world-famous resin comes from the stems.

Mastic trees ChiosMastic trees ChiosPhoto: Güldem Üstün (CC BY 2.0) no changes made


The number of bird species present on Chios is comparable to those present on Lesvos, which is located north of Chios. Lesvos is a favourite destination for birdwatchers and ornithologists, Chios is even less so.

It is estimated that about 70 bird species breed on Chios, the rest are migratory, including some heron species and the black stork. Special breeding birds include the smyrna bunting, the black-headed bunting and the brown-throated lorikeet. Chios also has a great variety of birds of prey, including three species of owls, eagles, falcons and harriers.

Chios SmyrnagorsChios SmyrnagorsPhoto: Mark S Jobling CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

At least 56 species of butterflies and moths have been spotted on Chios, including some very special and therefore protected species, such as the Chios brown sandpiper, the lesser monarch butterfly, the Jasius butterfly, the pipeflower moth and the eastern pipeflower moth.

Butterfly ChiosButterfly ChiosPhoto: Svdmolen CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

Chios has dozens of species of dragonflies, and it is almost certain that not all of them have been spotted on the island yet. Mountain streams and other freshwater pools are breeding grounds for dragonflies, but the saltwater pool behind the beach of Kato Fana is also home to dragonflies.

Fire Dragonfly ChiosFire Dragonfly ChiosPhoto: Public domain

Although it is not scientifically proven, it is believed that the Chios sheep, which is mainly used for milk production, was actually first bred on Chios.

Chios-scheepChios-sheep Photo: Public domain

The number of wild mammal species on Chios is very limited, as the following list shows.

WILD Mammels
woodmousebrown rathedgehog
European harehouse mouseotter
red foxstone martenblack rat

Stone marten ChiosStone marten ChiosPhoto: Stanislaw Szydlo CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Frogs and toads are common on Chios, but also lizards and to a lesser extent snakes are omnipresent. Of particular note is the dwarf snake, which eats only insects. One of the larger snake species is the esculape snake, and the only poisonous snake on Chios is the small Asian viper. Loggerhead turtles are seen occasionally but do not breed on Chios.

Chios Asia Minor viperChios Asia Minor viper Photo: Benny Trapp CC 3.0 Unported no chamges made

There is a great variety of bees, wasps, flies and ants on Chios. As for ants, about 80 species have been counted, more than on any other Greek island. There are also 40 species of spider wasps and social wasps. Due to the favourable conditions, the area around Elinda is very rich in bees and wasps, which is why the village is also called the wasp capital of Chios.

At least 40 species of predatory flies have been found on Chios, as well as many species of flower flies, blowfly, horsefly, camelid fly, ant lion, beetle, grasshopper, cricket, lacewing and lepidopteran.

Chios Cryptocheilus alternatusChios Cryptocheilus alternatusPhoto: Claude CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The sea around Chios is clear and unpolluted, and therefore home to a rich marine fauna, from barracudas to starfish, octopuses and seahorses.

Chios WhitingChios WhitingPhoto: Public domain



CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated April 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info