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Plants and Animals

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Plants and Animals


Olive Trees, SamosOlive Trees, SamosPhoto: Public domain

The olive tree is the most common tree species on Samos, with more than 1.5 million specimens. Approximately 75% of the olive trees can be found in the southern part of the island. In the north and centre of the island, most of the vines are found, where the Muscat grape provides the famous Samos wine. Citrus, cherry and apple trees can be found all over the island.

Pine forests dominate in the north and on the mountain slopes of Ampelos and Kerkis. In the lower-lying areas up to the coastline, Turkish pine is most common, while above 700 metres, black pine is dominant.

On rocky and arid grounds, we find dense maquis vegetation with shrubs and herbaceous plants such as holly oak or kermes Oak, mastic, wild olive tree, carob tree, juniper, bramble, honeysuckle, turpentine tree, heather, savory, oregano, cistus rose, thyme, thorny pimpernel, gorse, sage and mountain tea.

Oleander, SamosOleander, SamosPhoto: KRiemer in the public domain

In wetter areas: oleander, monk's pepper, laurel, grey willow, ivy and common bindweed.


Samos has a very rich and varied herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians), which is partly due to the island's location near the west coast of Turkey. There are 30 species on Samos, which is quite a lot for an island of this size. The species on Samos live in small populations that are scattered across the island.

Anatolian Wall Lizard, SamosAnatolian Wall Lizard, SamosPhoto: Federico Muciaccia CC 3.0 no changes made

The snake-eyed lizard can be found all over the island, the rare Anatolian wall lizard is only found in Europe on Samos and lives otherwise only on the Turkish west coast. Another speciality is the scheltopusik or European glass snake, a legless lizard that can reach up to 1.5 metres in length. Another lizard species is the Johannisskink, which resembles a small snake and reaches a size of about 11 cm.

There are also two species of geckos on Samos, the Naked Finger Gecko and the Turkish House Gecko. Very special is the hardon, the only species of agama found in Europe, which lives on a large number of Greek islands.

Samos also has a number of snake species, the Caspian whip snake, the slender whip snake and the worm snake. Furthermore, three species of turtles live on Samos: the European pond terrapin, the Caspian terrapin and the, for Samotian standards, rare Moorish terrapin.

Four species of amphibians live on Samos, the common toad, the green toad, the tree frog and the Aegean lake frog. Samotian fauna also includes the Oxythyrea funesta (leafhopper species), a sable grasshopper species, a millipede species, the forest creek damselfly, the scorpion and the freshwater crab.

Swallowtail, SamosSwallowtail, SamosPhoto: Gailhampshire CC 2.0 no changes made

As there are many flowers on Samos, it is also home to many butterflies, such as the cockchafer, wood whitethroat, swallowtail, chickadee, orange alfalfa, goldfinch and tiger blue, Levant's sandpiper, cabbage white, cabbage white, blue kingfisher, oakleaf swallowtail, dark moorland moth, Balkan woodpecker, swallowtail, Icarus blue, small coastal tadpole, little firefly and tree blue.



Schönrock, D. / Samos

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Last updated May 2024
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