Wildlife in the Caldera

Dragonflies mating in the Caldera de Taburiente, El Paso, La Palma
Dragonflies mating in the Caldera de Taburiente

La Palma popped up out of the ocean only 3 million years ago, so the wildlife either flew here by itself, floated here by itself, or hitched a lift with humans. Consequently there are no bears or wolves or deer.

Yponomenta gigas caterpillars and web in the Caldera de Taburiente, El Paso, La Palma
Yponomenta gigas caterpillars and web in the Caldera de Taburiente

For all that, there are some interesting insects in the Caldera. For example, there are the blue dragonflies, pictured above. They’re really quite common, although they zip around so fast that they can be hard to photograph.

And in spring the willow trees near the campsite are covered with cobwebs. These aren’t made by spiders; they’re made by caterpillars. Sometimes the whole tree is covered by the cobwebs.

And then there’s the Death’-head Hawk moth, whose body is about as big as my thumb.

 

A huge wasp-coloured moth in the Caldera de Tabutiente, La Palma
Acherontia atropos, the commonest of the Death’s-head Hawk moths, in the Caldera de Tabutiente

As well as the insects, in late September I found lots of frogs and a few large tadpoles in the river, Perez’s frog Pelophylax perezi to be precise. They can be quite noisy at night, but I love their golden eyes.

Little Perez's frog in the Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
Little Perez’s frog (Pelophylax perezi) in the Caldera de Taburiente

This article has 2 Comments

  1. If La Palma arose 3 million years ago, how can it have remnants of 20 million year old forest?
    Thanks,
    Susan

  2. Good question.

    I don’t know, but I think it must have come via somewhere else. Maderia seems like a good candidate.
    Are there any biologists reading this who could help?

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