The Socotra Archipelago at the turn of the Millennium

A brief overview on the natural history of the Archipelago with special consideration to the fauna


The Socotra Archipelago is distinguished by unique geology and a rich variety of plant and animal species, including an exceptional number of endemics and relic species of special biogeographic and developmental interest. The flora and fauna of the islands appear to have been comparatively little affected by modern development. A significant part of available data dates back to expeditions over one hundred years ago. This in turn creates several problems for well-prepared nature protection and sustainable development concepts.

The author visited Socotra Island for field work several times between 1982 and 1999, staying there for one to four weeks each time. This included a UNESCO Fact Finding Mission in 1993, whose objective was to consider the establishment of this unique island as a Biosphere Reserve, and a Multidisciplinary Expedition of the Global Environment Facilities funded Socotra Biodiversity Project in 1999.

At this point I would like to express my gratitude to all those Yemenite colleagues and institutions who helped me during my work in the country.

For more details on the fauna of the Archipelago and a photocraphic overview see:
Fauna of the Socotra Archipelago - Field guide (2004, 540 pp., illustrated with 760 colour photographs, covering some 100 species;  79,00), Order Details: Universitätsdruckerei Rostock, Zum Laakkanal 20, 18109 Rostock, Germany; e-mail: