Flora and fauna of the Pyrenees - Characteristics and species

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The Pyrenean mountain range, arises from the seabed that existed between the continental masses of Eurasia and Iberia, the collision of both plates, which occurred 80 million years ago, raised the stratified sedimentary rocks that in the seabed to more than 3,000 meters they were accumulated. Currently, the Pyrenean mountain range as it is known, is supported by a very deep cortical root that enters the Earth's mantle.

If you want to know better what the ecosystems of the Pyrenees are like, be sure to read this interesting article by Ecologist Verde in which we talk about the flora and fauna of the Pyrenees.

Characteristics of the flora and fauna of the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees have a rich and abundant diversity that needs to be conserved. In its territory some 4,500 species of plants, being approximately 200 of them endemic. In the Pyrenean area the forests are characterized by the presence of spruce or black pines. However, at a lower altitude there are chestnut trees, elm trees, also ash trees. At even lower altitudes, where there are valleys, there is a temperate climate that influences the appearance of exuberant vegetation and fruit trees, such as cork oaks or fig trees, as well as aromatic plants, such as lavender or thyme.

On the other hand, the fauna is mainly composed of the Iberian desman, the Iberian lynx, brown bears, the Pyrenean newt and a great variety of birds, like the golden eagle.

Flora of the Pyrenees

These are some of the Pyrenean plants:

Birch (Betula pendula)

Birch has a wide distribution, occupying a large part of the territory of the Pyrenees. It grows in mixed coniferous and deciduous forests, in wetlands and peatlands.

Fir tree (Abies alba)

In the Pyrenees area, fir is distributed from eastern Navarra and Pyrènèes-Atlantiques to the extreme east. It grows in continental territories, and it is a very resistant species to cold, but not to late frosts. It is normally found in mixed forests with Scots pine or beech, it can coexist with black pine, although there are also pure fir forests.

Sneezing grass (Achillea pyrenaica)

This herb that is distributed by the mountains of the north of the Iberian Peninsula, grows in hygrophilous grasses and grasslands, on the banks of mountain streams and wetlands. It reaches the alpine floor.

Sabina albar (Juniperus thurifera L.)

In the Pyrenees this species is found in the north, south and central areas. It grows on deep soils, in moorlands and valleys that have an extreme continental climate. They can be found forming pure junipers or mixed with kermes oak, gall oak, juniper, black pine or Aleppo.

Fauna of the Pyrenees

These are some of the Pyrenees animals:

Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica)

Also known by the name "Señor de las Cumbres", it is a herbivorous animal belonging to the bovine family, but of a wild type, it is the most typical in the Catalan Pyrenees. It inhabits the subalpine level, between 1000 and 3000 meters of altitude, especially in rocky areas.

The size of the chamois is usually small and slender, and they have a coat of reddish color during the summer months and dark brown during the winter.

Common fox (Vulpini)

The common fox or also known as the red fox is a nocturnal and very stealthy mammal that is found abundantly in the Pyrenees. Its diet is very wide, which allows it to adapt to most habitats.

It has a coat that is all brown, gray and reddish, it is small and its tail makes up almost 70% of its body length.

Common Grouse (Tetraus urogallus)

This species is found inhabiting subalpine forests of the Pre-Pyrenees and the Pyrenees, of black pine and red pine, at an altitude of 1,700 and 2,000 meters.

The common grouse is one of the largest gallinaceous found in the Pyrenees, the male being twice as large as the female, and differing between the two also by their plumage. In the month of May, during the mating season, they emit a very characteristic song.

Species of flora and fauna of the Pyrenees in danger of extinction

Next, we show you a list of endangered animals in the Pyrenees Aragonese:

  • Cottus hispaniolensis or cavilat.
  • Aphanius ibeurus or fartet.
  • Galemys pyrenaicus or Pyrenean desman.
  • Ursus arctos pyrenaicus or brown bear.
  • Pyrenaic frog or Pyrenean frog.
  • Tetrao urogallus or common grouse.
  • Gypaetus barbatus or bearded vulture.

On the other hand, in the Aragonese Pyrenees they are cataloged as species of endangered plants:

  • Diphasiastrum alpinum or alpine club moss.
  • Cypripedium calceolus or lady's shoe.
  • Corallorhiza trifida or coral root.
  • Borderea chouardii or Borderea.
  • Buxbaumia viridis or moss insect.
  • Orthotrichum rogeri, genus of liver mosses.

Now that you have known all these species of the flora and fauna of the Pyrenees and some of their characteristics, you may want to expand your knowledge with this other post about the Flora and fauna of Europe.

If you want to read more articles similar to Flora and fauna of the Pyrenees, we recommend that you enter our Biodiversity category.

  • Antonio Teixell. Geotectonics of the Pyrenees. Available at: https://gent.uab.cat/ateixell/sites/gent.uab.cat.ateixell/files/21.-TeixellInvCI.pdf
  • Drafting of Cima Norte. (January 15, 2022). North Summit. The 6 plants of the Aragonese Pyrenees in danger of extinction. Available at: https://cimanorte.com/las-6-plantas-del-pirineo-aragones-en-peligro-de-extincion/
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