Looking for dragonflies and other wildlife in the lovely island of Asinara (Sardegna)

Asinara is the third by size of the islands that surround Sardinia and its wildlife, that includes the famous albino-donkeys and rare endemisms, such as the Audouin’s Gull or the Corsican Heath butterfly, has been protected by a National Park since 1997.

I visited the island in June, leading a Naturetrek group focused on the dragonflies, and I was rapt by the beauty of its wild nature, with really few signs of man presence, because virtually nobody lives there permanently, despite the visit is allowed to tourists during the daylight, usually during organized excursions by land Rover.

Like other Sardinian islands, Asinara served as prison for more than a century since 1885 and only in 1999 was opened to the public.

The island is hilly and covered by a rich garigue with just a patch of Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) maquis at Elighe Mannu.

The transfer by boat from Stintino takes a dozen of minutes, but you can reach the island also from Porto Torres and other Sardinian coastal localities.

The vegetation on the meadows was particularly rich and colored, probably because of the abundant spring rains: amazing numbers of flowers were still blooming, despite the rather late season.

During my exploration, I mainly visited the few brackish and freshwater ponds on the island, looking for damselflies and dragonflies, but I couldn’t avoid to notice the number of amazing birds, butterflies, flowers and other wildlife there were around.

Corsican Wall Brown (Lasiommata paramegaera), endemic of Sardinia and Corsica
Beach of Fornelli with the Torre della Finanza in the background
Dark Spreadwing (Lestes macrostigma), a rare species in the Mediterranean related to salty habitats
Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii)
A sea-lavender (Limonium cfr. laetum) endemic of Asinara
Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard (Podarcis tiliguerta), endemic of Sardinia and Corsica
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
Sardinian Tree Frog (Hyla sarda), endemic of Sardinia and Corsica
Dark Spreadwing (Lestes macrostigma)
Audouin’s Gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii), endemic of the Mediterranean basin
Asinara donkey
Mix of habitats in the southern part of the island
Island Bluetails (Ischnura genei), endemic of Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily
Caterpillar of Spurge Hawkmoth (Hyles euphorbiae)
Great Green Bush-cricket (Tettigonia viridissima)
Pale Shoulder (Acontia lucida)
Montpellier Rock-rose (Cistus monspeliensis)
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata)
Asinara donkey
Cemetery of Fornelli
Tree Spurges (Euphorbia dendroides)
Cala di Sgombro di Dentro
A knapweed (Centaurea orrida) endemic of northern Sardinia
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Cat Thyme (Teucrium marum)
Corsican Heath (Coenonympha corinna), endemic of Sardinia and Corsica
Salt Sandspurry (Spergularia cfr. marina)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Torre di Trabuccato
Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)
Cala Reale, the main settlement of the island
Dainty Bluet (Coenagrion scitulum)
Lago del Pecorile with some rainfall
Dainty Bluet (Coenagrion scitulum)
Beach Poppy (Glaucium flavum)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Three-horned Stock (Matthiola tricuspidata)
Asinara donkey

Luca Boscain

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