Greek fauna is especially abundant with respect to European standards, due to its geographical position and rich horizontal and vertical partitioning and the wide range of habitats that are provided. The basic element of this wealth consists of the increased endemicity and geographical diversification of most of the animal groups.On Greek soil we thus have innumerable kinds of land and aquatic fauna, and we can observe temperate, sea, port or river fauna. Over 1,200 kinds of vertebrate animals and over around 30,000 invertebrate species have been identified.
It is estimated that there are around 50,000 species of animals, with an endemicity that is approximately 25%. The majority of these species belong to the insect world, which also includes the most unknown ones.The countless number of caves (approx. 10,000) are of extreme importance for endemicity, of which only a few hundred have been studied with respect to their fauna. From the little data that has been collected, it can be deduced that each cave contained some taxa that were endemic to Greece, mainly invertebrates.
These are included in the European Natura 2000 Network pursuant to Council Directive 92/43 for the conservation of natural ecotopes and wild fauna and spontaneous flora. This consists of around 234 biotope regions. These also include the 52 special protected areas (SPAs) for the conservation of wild birds, based on Comm. Dir. 79/409. There are comparatively few species (around 700 species of animals and 900 of plants) that are protected by legislation and in fact, only very few of these are actually protected.
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