Biology – sea

Flora

The richness of the archipelago’s underwater is evidenced by 248 species of the marine flora. This number in such a small area is equivalent to the number from the wide surface of the central and southern Adriatic. In this area there is a seasonal flow of nutrients from the deep Adriatic; this phenomenon makes it possible to for marine life to flourish.

The rocky floor is covered in photophilic algae, while the shallow coastal seabeds are covered in the endangered and protected Posidonia oceanica. This species is a very important hatchery and shelter for many marine species. The hidden harbour is an extremely rare habitat of the green alga Caulerpa prolifera, the only indigenous caulerpa in the Adriatic.

Fauna

Thanks to the abundance and variety of the zooplankton, the underwater world of the Park is rich in corals, sponges, molluscs, Bryozoa, echinoderms, crabs and many other species, so the chains in the underwater life chain are very strong. 330 species of invertebrates have been registered so far, 20 of which are on the endangered species list.

The clusters of gold coral (Gerardia savaglia), red coral (Corallium rubrum) and the endemic Hvar coral (Madracis pharensis) are especially beautiful.

In the zone of tidal oscillation, there are many different marine snails, and limpets. They are followed by sea scallops, octopus, and cuttlefish. The trademark of the rock bottom are colonies of lobsters, kuke (sovice) and crabs. This is also the habitat of rare species of snails – the Triton’s trumpet (Charonia tritonis sequenza), the zoned mitre (Mitra zonata), and the giant tun (Tonna galea).

The species of fish characteristic for this are the black scorpionfish, the red scorpionfish, the dusky grouper, the dentex, the black seabream, the striped red mullet, the forkbeard, the East Atlantic peacock wrasse, the Muraena, the European conger and others. There is also tuna, the greater amberjack and the swordfish.

The open waters of this area are the home of several species of dolphins – the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), and Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), as well as turtles – the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas).

The secluded cliffs of the Medjedina caves were previously the home of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus); sporadic meetings of the island people with the animals stokes the hope in its return.