Friday, 9 December 2016

«An Introduction to the Wildlife of Cyprus» by David Sparrow and Eddie Johns (eds). με συμβολή του Γιώργου και Φανής Κωνσταντίνου

Γιώργος και Φανή Κωνσταντίνου έχουν προσφέρει αφιλοκερδως συνολικά 65 φωτογραφίες απο όλο το φάσμα της Κυπριακής  βιοποικιλότητας για την ολοκλήρωση του βιβλίου.

Η έκδοση έγινε από το Κυπριακό Ίδρυμα Προστασίας του Περιβάλλοντος Terra Cypria, και φιλοξενεί συνολικά κείμενα 44 συγγραφέων, εμπειρογνωμόνων στον τομέα τους.

Η παρουσίαση του βιβλίου An Introduction to the Wildlife of Cyprus έγινε την Τετάρτη, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2016 (6.30μ.μ.), στο Δημοτικό Μέγαρο Λεμεσού, από τον Dr. David Sparrow, υπεύθυνο επιμέλειας της έκδοσης.

Στοιχεία έκδοσης: «An Introduction to the Wildlife of Cyprus» by David Sparrow and Eddie Johns (eds)

The book is stocked by Moufflon Bookshop, Lefkosia (main distributor), Academic and General Bookshop, Larnaka and Kyriakou Bookshops in Lemesos and Pafos.  

Introducing biodiversity in Cyprus
December 11, 2016

By Melissa Hekkers

A new publication on the wildlife of Cyprus has recently hit the bookshelves, offering a lengthy insight into how our island represents a “biodiversity hotspot” within the Mediterranean basin.

Edited by David J. Sparrow, photographer, author and lecturer, and Eddie John, author and founder of the Cyprus Butterfly Scheme and co-founder of the Cyprus Butterfly Study Group, it also took the contribution of 44 expert authors and 107 photographers, both from the island and abroad to accomplish their vision: “to create a book that would appeal to any nature lover, and also be of value to students and researchers”.

With the book, entitled ‘An introduction to the Wildlife of Cyprus’, taking six years to materialise, it was the lack of a single publication on the field in question that drove the idea of the project forward.

“I was photographing a lot of species in Cyprus and found that, although there were a few books available – for instance on butterflies and birds – there was no book which covered the wide range of animals encountered in the field,” Sparrow tells the Weekly.

“I was often in contact with Eddie John, who records butterfly sightings for Cyprus, and between us we knew various experts in other areas, so we decided to try and bring a team of authors together to produce a book on all the main animal groups,” he adds.

The initiation into the broad topics by ‘An introduction to the Wildlife of Cyprus’ was intentional. The idea being to introduce readers to the island’s fauna, which was strongly influenced by Cyprus’ position at the juncture of Africa, Asia and Europe. Included are chapters on invertebrates and vertebrates, together with foundational material on geography, climate, geology, habitats and taxonomy.

“We have called it an ‘introduction’ since it is impossible for a general book to cover every species – insects such as beetles and flies number in the thousands, with many not even known to science – but it is certainly the most comprehensive wildlife book currently available on Cyprus,” affirms Sparrow.

Having two ‘foreign’ eyes looking deeper into the island’s natural environment, it’s a wonder as to what led them to choose to research Cyprus specifically and what brought them together.

“I have always had an interest in photography, so, when I retired from a career in industry, my first move was extend my photographic skills through some training courses. We then settled in Cyprus where I felt I had a great opportunity to photograph the wildlife,” says Sparrow.

“I was initially fascinated by lizards and snakes and a meeting with Hans-Jorg [Wiedl, aka] ‘Snake’ George, who ran a reptile park near Paphos, led me to co-author ‘The Amphibians and Reptiles of Cyprus’, which was published in 2009. But while I was taking photographs for that, both my wife Ros and I became keen on butterflies. We joined Eddie John on a two-week butterfly recording trip around the island and, since then, we have continued to record butterflies every year,” he adds.

For his part, John has been preoccupied with butterflies most of his life.

“Following a lifelong interest in butterflies in the UK and mainland Europe, it was only natural that, when I moved to Cyprus in the late 1990s, I took an interest in the local species,” says John.

“On finding that there was no local recording scheme, I established one in the year 2000, and have maintained it since retiring to Wales. In addition to my annual visits, records have been sent to me by 240 local residents and visitors,” he reveals.

Local insights

As outlined in the foreword of the publication, it is actually the relatively low number of species in Cyprus that allowed the pair to cover all the breeding species discussed and illustrated within the 900-page hard-back first edition.

“Islands typically have a reduced number of species compared to their neighbouring landmasses, but, nevertheless, we have only covered all the species for those groups with manageable numbers. These include mammals (of which there are 30 species), butterflies (with 53 recorded species) and dragonflies (with 37 species). For birds, of which 398 species have been recorded, we included a full checklist and selected 40 species of note to illustrate and discuss in more detail,” explains Sparrow.

“On the other hand, many insect groups number hundreds or thousands of species. In those cases, the contributing chapter authors have introduced the main families and then highlighted selected species which are representative, colourful or conspicuous. We have certainly tried to include everything which the interested observer is likely to see in the field,” he adds.

On this note, Sparrow explains that, up to now, emphasis has been predominantly placed on the most popular groups, such as birds and butterflies.

“Some work had been done on other groups, but the results were generally confined to scientific papers. Overall, little had been published on the fauna of Cyprus compared to that of mainland Europe,” says Sparrow.

“On dragonflies, for instance, until work was started on this book, the only published studies had been by visitors to the island, and only covered the peak months from May to July,” he reveals.

As the author of ‘Amphibians and Reptiles of Cyprus’, the new publication at hand is potentially a natural progress for Sparrow.

“Yes, for me it was a natural follow-on. And the success of that book ‘Amphibians and Reptiles of Cyprus’ – which sold out in 10 months and is now in a second edition – encouraged us to believe that there would be considerable interest in a wider book on all the animal groups in Cyprus,” says Sparrow.

“We are delighted that ‘An introduction to the Wildlife of Cyprus’ has been published by Terra Cypria, the Cyprus Conservation Foundation, an NGO which aims to promote environmental education and sensitisation with the Cypriot society. We hope it will promote greater interest, and further study of Cyprus’ wildlife,” he concludes.

Indeed, available in all major bookshops across the island, ‘An Introduction to the Wildlife of Cyprus’ – accompanied by over 1,000 photographs, as well as numerous illustrations and tables – can only encourage interest in the diversity of local fauna, and help familiarise readers with the many species encountered on “this fascinating east Mediterranean island”.


  1. Thanks again for your help in providing so many photographs, George. Along with photographs from many others it helped to produce a well-illustrated book.

    1. Yor wellcome Eddie and thanks for the exelent book

    2. It looks like a really great work.
      Who was the invited expert to write the chapter section on spiders?

    3. Robert Bosmans is the spider expert. Are you interested on Cypriot spiders?