The Diapontia Islands are a group of small islets located northwest of Corfu just where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea. Mathraki, Othoni and Erikousa are the largest and the only inhabited of the twelve little islets and rocks that make up this small archipelago. All the islands are tranquil, almost free of cars and the tourists that visit here come to enjoy the peace and to walk, swim and relax. The whole island of Mathraki is a Natura 2000-site as are most of the coastal area of Othoni and the northern part of Erikousa. The islands are protected because they are important nesting sites for birds such as Cory's shearwaters, Calonectris diomedea, shags, Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Peregrine falcons, Falco peregrinus, and Alpine swifts, Tachymarptis melba, but birds are not the only interesting wildlife on these islands. Erikousa is a paradise for the green toad, Bufotes viridis, and in the harbour settlement of Porto there is a large and viable population that breeds in the dune pools on the beach and roams the empty streets at night. The Eastern Montpellier snake, Malpolon isignitus fuscus, is also found here and the males of the Dalmatian keeled lizard, Algyroides nigropunctatus, on this island are all coloured beautiful brick red during the mating season. On Othoni the Balkan whipsnake, Hierophis gemonensis, is unusually beautiful with a very distinct black and white pattern. The flora is beautiful and quite rich on all the islands and the specimens of the Mediterranean thistle, Galacites tomentosa, that grow here are nearly all of the white flowering form.
Please follow this link to read or download our first report of the herpetofauna of the Diapontia Islands.