Marine life of the Balearic Islands

The flora and fauna of the Balearic Islands are renowned for their diversity and abundance. From the symbolic oceanic posidonia, to dolphins and turtles. The Balearic Islands have such impressive marine ecosystems, we have to do our best to protect them so we can keep enjoying them in the future. The Balearic Islands are located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea which is very salty and well oxygenated, the perfect habitat for different marine species.

Balearic marine flora

You can’t talk about the marine plant life in the Balearic Islands without mentioning Posidonia oceanica. This marine plant has beautiful flowers and fruits and is commonly confused with algae. The islands are home to the largest Posidonia reef in the whole of the Mediterranean.

This unique plant forms marine meadows and are the home and food for thousands of other marine species. They also slow down the waves and provide oxygen in the ocean. Despite this, unfortunately, this species is now in decline.

Other abundant plants that we can find at the bottom of the sea are the Cymodocea Nodosa, a seagrass that reaches up to 60 cm in height and with a wooden stem. Another one is the Zostera Marina, a grass of up to 150 cm in length with elongated, fine leaves. Unfortunately, among the Balearic sea flowers we can also find invasive algae such as Caulerpa Cylindracea which was accidentally brought from Australia. The same with Caulerpa Taxifolia which began to appear in the Mediterranean after an accidental escape from the Monaco aquarium.

Balearic marine fauna

In the Balearic Islands you can see a great variety of marine animals. There are more than 400 species of fish and hundreds of invertebrates and crustaceans, as well as birds and mammals. Among the mammals, the bottlenose dolphin and the blue shark are ones to look out for. In the bird family you can find the Balearic shearwater, the only endemic sea bird in Spain which unfortunately is going extinct while there are now only 300 breeding pairs. The fish and invertebrates family includes, the eel; the moray eel; the scorpaena scrofa, better known as "cap roig", a red fish covered with spines that is highly valued gastronomically. You can also find octopus and of course a great variety of jellyfish. These jellyfish are usually located in deep water, but sometimes, due to the lack of predators, they are carried by the currents and reach the coasts of the islands causing havoc with swimmers.

Sea Watchers Platform

The Observadores del Mar platform, coordinated by CSIC, is a platform that brings together all people with a connection to the Mediterranean Sea, whether they are fishermen, biologists, divers, yacht crew or any other person in contact with the sea.

On this platform, citizens can report sightings of certain marine species. This is very useful for scientists as it helps them to monitor invasive species, jellyfish, endangered species, etc. It works in a similar way to a social network, you can include photos, write comments, give me likes and include information about quantity, habitat, depth and location.

Let’s try to work together to keep our Balearic Marine life safe and keep our islands beautiful.

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