The Naturalist on Chios, Greece.

Mike Taylor , Liverpool Museum.


Commencing in 1992 I have been visiting Chios for holidays, the time on Chios since my retirement in early 1995 averaging nearly six months each year. My interests in all aspects of natural history, including a major invertebrate biodiversity study with the help of the Liverpool Museum and by colleagues from other U.K. institutions has given me a broad insight into Chios natural history. I have also undertaken much field investigation with local naturalists, from whom I have also received much help.

Chios is virtually unknown by Western Europeans interested in natural history. This is particularly the case in the U.K. which does not have any direct holiday charter flights operating to Chios.

Chios is the fifth largest Greek island , smaller than Lesvos thirty miles to the north and larger than Samos forty five miles to the southeast. Due to a combination of natural disasters and human conflict , Chios has suffered from a depressed economy relative to its neighbours , with little industrial or holiday accommodation development. Agricultural activity is non-intensive and patchy in nature and this has contributed to the retention of much of the natural landscape and to the preservation and protection of native plants and animals.

Chios has a very varied geology and an impressive topographic range capped by the Pelinaeon mountain in the north of the island which is 4250 ft high , considerably higher than on any other island in the region. Its location close to the Turkish mainland, opposite the Izmir Peninsular, provides a warm climate in a position in the centre of one of Europes main bird migration routes.

Its geological history and isolation, combined with its varied geology and topography, has lead to the evolution of numbers of plants and animals unique to the island. In many ways, Chios can offer the perfect holiday destination for the naturalist with wide ranging interests in plants and animals. Pelinaeon Mountain

Chios has not suffered from the excesses of visually intrusive, environmentally damaging and inappropriate developments seen in many other Mediterranean areas. On the contrary many of the old properties in the villages are being gradually modernised with tasteful and sympathetic care to ensure the preservation of their character for the benefit of future generations of citizens and visitors.

Chios's compact shape and the recently developed network of good roads enables all parts of the island to be easily reached. This ensures that the visiting naturalist can enjoy the nature of Chios without the fatigue of long transit journeys between places of interest, thus maximising the time spent seeing plants and animals of interest. English is widely spoken and understood on Chios, and the people are very friendly and helpful. West coast of Chios




© M.J.Taylor 2003. - email: mike.taylor(at) 

Home - Map of Chios - Introduction - Birds on Chios - Wildflowers on Chios - Insects on Chios - Butterflies and Moths - Bees, Wasps and Ants - Flies - Snakeflies, Antlions and Lacewings - Dragonflies - Beetles - Grasshoppers and Crickets - Scorpions and Spiders on Chios - Mammals on Chios - Frogs and Toads on Chios - Lizards and Snakes on Chios - Armadillos, Terrapins and Tortoises on Chios - Marine Fish on Chios - Photographs - Acknowledgements