Biology – land

Flora

The Lastovo islands are one of the richest and most preserved botanical areas in the Mediterranean.

The make-up of the vegetation of the island of Lastovo has been determined by the offshore remoteness, plenty of sunshine and night humidity and special and deep Lastovo soil. Out of 810 recognized species, you can meet everything from endangered species, otherwise extinct species, endemic and stenoendemic species.

In addition to bjeličasta gromotulja (Aurinia leucadea) other botanic rarities are a special rarity of the Croatian vegetation, trsovez (Ampelodesmos mauretanica), which can be found only on Lastovo as a stenoendemic species and the legally protected species of dalmatinski kozlinac (Biserrula pelecinus ssp. dalmatica).

The flora of the island of Sušac was created due to the lack of water in the sparse ground and constant exposure to strong southern wind. This specific vegetation has 278 plant species; among eight endemic species, we can point out sušačka vrzina (Brassica cazzae), which grows in the cracks of coastal rocks.

Around 70% of the islands is covered in woods, which makes Lastovo the woodiest Croatian island next to Mljet. It is covered mainly in underbrush – the most beautiful tree is planika (Arbutus unedo), but the most important cover is crnika (Quercus ilex), and the forests of the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis). Under the forest cover, you can find mushrooms.

The Lastovo houses are decorated by Mediterranean plants: almonds, lemons, oranges, palm trees and carob. This climate is also favourable for the growth of medicinal herbs, such as sage, mint, yarrow, rosemary, lavender, fennel, and chamomile. Of the cultivated plants, the most widespread ones are the vine and olive.

Fauna

The island’s animal world is also very rich. 175 species of vertebrates have been registered so far, 71 of which are endangered on a national level, while 37 species are endangered on a European level.

The caves of Lastovo are the home to bats, which they use as shelters or places for breeding, such as Medjedina, which is the home to 3 endangered bat species – the Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolopus euryale), Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus), and the greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum).

The Lastovo archipelago is an important resting place for many migratory birds, and is the nesting place of the Mediterranean shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) and the Scopoli’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea). The eastern groups of Lastovnjaci and Vrhovnjaci is the nesting place of around 70 % of the Croatian population of the globally endangered Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii). The cliffs of Struga (Velike stijene) is the nesting place of the rare Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae).

It is interesting to note that there are no venomous snakes on the islands, and the only snake species is the Caspian whipsnake (Dolichophis caspius). The Lastovo archipelago is also the habitat of stenoendemic lizards – the Italian wall lizard (Podarcis sicula adriatica) and the Dalmatian wall lizard (Podarcis melisellensis n. ssp.).

The area is rich in micro-fauna, especially insects, spiders and snails.