The orientation and the relief that is created by themountains of Samos (Kerkis with an altitude of 1444meters and Ampelos with an altitude of 1160meters) create a multitude of microclimates on theisland. An immediate result of this is that Samos hasa very rich environment with great assortment inplants and animals that cannot be encountered inany other Aegean island.
As far as flora is concerned, some uniqueplants exist in Samos. The most important species are : Viola Heldreichiana and Paeonia.
Mountain Karvounis, is characterized by a highconcentration of rare, endemic flora. This is due tothree main reasons:1 Location of Samos (very close to Asia Minor)2 The altitude of the area3 The relative isolation of the area and limited humanactivities
The Area is protected and is in Natura2000 and most plants found near the top are included in the Red List of threatened plants of the IUCN-World Conservation Union. They are also protected by Greek legislation (Presidential Decree 67/81).
One of these plants is the tiny ViolaHeldreichiana with a height of no more than 3to 4 cm.In the list it is marked as rareespecially in our country as it has been foundonly in Samos a nd probably in Crete. Itblooms in April.The viola was found in the area of AiLia in1992 by Sven Snogerup
The peony is named after Paeon (also spelledPaean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek godof medicine and healing. Asclepius becamejealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon fromthe wrath of Asclepius by turning him into thepeony flower.
Samos also has rare and endangered species of animals The chameleon of Samos is one of the most important
Chameleons are one of the most easily identified members of the lizard family, and this is not just due to their ability to change colour. They are able to move their eyes independently of each other, which allow them to focus on 2 different fields of view. When a prey item is located, the chameleon is able to switch to binocular vision in order to target the insect better. Chameleons use their tongue as the predominant method for catching prey. It is protruded in a ballistic fashion so quickly that human’s eyes cannot focus on it. The common chameleon moves in a slow and deliberate manner, which is a ruse to convince potential predators that it is just a leaf blowing in the wind.This is a very important species of Samos and is highlyprotected
Canis aureusThe Golden Jackal Jackals are true members of the dog family and can actually interbreed with both domestic dogs and wolves. The Ancient Egyptian god of embalming, Anubis, was portrayed as a jackal-headed man, or as a jackal wearing ribbons and holding a flagellum. In Hinduism, the golden jackal is portrayed as the familiar of several deities, the most common of which being Chamunda, the emaciated, devouring goddess of the cremation grounds. Another deity associated with jackals is Kali, who inhabits a cremation ground and is surrounded by millions of jackals. The vocabulary of the golden jackal is similar to that of dogs, with seven different sounds previously recorded.
Samos is the only island in the Mediterranean where the rarestcarnivore in Greece, the European "gold" jackal exists.It is an integral part of the unique biodiversity of Samos, andadorned with his presence on the island for thousands of years.Supple, with long legs, an elegant nose and a short tail, jackal is aclose relative of the grey wolf. Nevertheless, except that it posesno risk to humans, no bigger than a medium sized dog.The colour can be red, brown or silver with gold. It is potentiallyomnivorous and eat rodents, insects, dead flesh and fruit. Thejackal is cultivated mainly in areas like olive groves, vineyards andplains moist soils, i.e. parts suitable for hiding and foraging.
Three out of seven known sea turtle species can be foundregularly in Mediterranean Sea – loggerhead sea turtle(Caretta caretta), green turtle (Chelonia mydas) andleatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Sea turtlesspend majority of their lives in the sea, but females cometo land in order to nest. They crawl out of the sea duringthe night and lay their eggs on the sandy beaches. Afterapproximately one month of incubation the hatchlings digtheir way out of the nest and crawl back to the sea. Thecoasts of Greece are one of the most important nestingareas for the endangered Caretta caretta (listed on IUCN’sRed List of Threatened Species) in the world.
There used to be many seals (Monachus monachus) as well on the rocky beaches of Samos, today there are still some, at “Seitani” area and for that reason this area has been characterized as protected area of ecologicalvalue. As many fishermen testify there are seals in other parts of the island as well.
There are no recent reports of encounters with the animal in Greece, though at theend of the 18th century an Anatolian leopard from Asia Minor was forced, either bya flooding of the Maeander River or by wildfire, to swim over to the nearby SamosIsland, where it became the apex predator and the scourge of domestic animals.The Kaplani (Greek: Καπλάνι from Turkish: Kaplan meaning Tiger) was hunted byfarmers and shepherds and was forced to take refuge in a cave. The entrance wasdocumented as being blocked with large stones so that the animal would die out ofhunger and thirst. After some time, a villager named Gerasimos Gliarmis opened ahole and climbed down the cave unarmed, in order to find the leopards corpse. Butthe animal had managed to survive eating the remains of its old prey and drinkingthe water which had gathered in the caves hollow. The leopard tried to fight hisway out, but the villagers brother, Nikolaos Gliarmis, also climbed down the cavefor help and managed to kill it. Gerasimos Gliarmis was injured by the wildcat in hischest and died a short time later from infection.The dead leopard was embalmed and is today displayed at the Natural HistoryMuseum of the Aegean on Samos Island