Biological Richness of Eastern Anatolia (Turkey): A Good

Biological Richness of Eastern Anatolia
(Turkey): A Good Sample to Concurrent
Fauna and Flora with Zoogeographical
Dr. Ümit İncekara
Atatürk University, Faculty of Science, Department of
Biology, Erzurum-Turkey
Turkey shows a notable diversity of habitats, with
significant variations in altitude, rainfall, temperature,
topography and geological history, which is reflected in its
richness of animal and plant life. Its biogeography is
therefore of considerable interest. In this presentation, a
brief biogeographical analysis of the fauna and flora of East
Anatolia (Turkey) is presented.
The most comprehensive study and analysis on the Anatolian
zoogeography was carried on by Kosswig (1955). The author had
summarized his opinion on the Anatolian zoogeography as: “Suddenly
one feels oneself in a foreign country, among an unfamiliar fauna from
the central or eastern Anatolian steppes, or from the mountainous
regions of northern, eastern, or western Anatolia” (Kosswig, 1955).
Main reason of this is rather high mountain barriers. In the south and
in the north, high mountains separated the central Anatolian lake from
the Mediterranean as well as from the Black Sea (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Main current barriers to the distribution of species in Turkey.
to be able to analyze biological richness of
Eastern Anatolia truly, it would be good to know
Fig. 2. Movements of the Anatolian fauna during the glaciations (Koswig, 1955).
Fig. 2. Movements of the Anatolian fauna during the post
glaciations (Koswig, 1955).
According to “Biodiversity Hotspots” report, there are 34
biodiversity gene centres worldwide. Of these, East Anatolia is
situated at the junction of four biodiversity gene centres.
These are:
1)- Caucasus
2)- Iran-Anatolia
3)- Mediterranean Basin
4)- Middle Asia Mountains
Animal Biodiversity In Turkey and Eastern Anatolia
Based on the distribution of thousands of animal species
belong to numerous families in East Anatolia shows the
existence of three major faunas, one influenced EuropeanSiberian
Many animal species are introduced to science from Eastern
Anatolia as:
* Helophorus erzurumica n. sp.
* Johnstonıana hakani n.sp.
* Terellia askaleensis n. sp.
* Ledermuelleriopsis ayyildizi n. sp.
* Ledermuelleriopsis bisetalis n. sp.
* Ledermuelleriopsis sezeki n. sp.
The number of animal species present in Turkey is more than those
in whole European continent (Europe X 1.5) (one point five times
In Eastern Anatolia, serious studies have not been conducted on
many animal groups.
And therefore, more studies should be
conducted on these groups intensively.
Plant Bio-diversity in the World
Endemism Rates
Total plant species
1. Australia
2. South-East Asia
3. Madagaskar
3. Brasil
4. China and East Asia 45.000
5. India and Sri Lanka 23.000
Endemism Rate
Plant Biodiversity In Turkey
Turkey has a rich diversity of plant species and is an active species-
formation center and also Turkey is one of the world’s most
important countries in terms of endemic plants. Floristic studies have
shown that Turkey houses about 12000 plant taxa and still a great
number of new species are being discovered progressively.
In Turkey, rate of endemism is relatively high when compared with
other European countries. While the rate of endemism is more than
34 % in Turkey, it is:
Greece: 14.9%
France: 2.9%
Spain : 18.6%
Poland: 0.1% in some other European countries.
The number of endemic species in Turkey is more than 3000.
Some countries have very low endemism rate. For example: In
Switzerland, there is only one endemic plant.
Turkey is the only country in the world under the influence of 3
phytogeographical regions called as Euro-Siberian, Mediterranean
and Irano-Turanian phytogeographic regions. The distribution of
endemic plants of Turkey according to main phytogeographical
regions is as follows:
: 1220
: 1050
: 300
Similarly, East Anatolia is situated at the junction of three floristic
Turkey is divided to 7 geographic regions. Mediterranean region
is the most important area in terms of richness of endemic plants.
East anatolia region has also a rich diversity of species and
ranked secondly in terms of endemism rate.
In Turkey, Mediterranean region is the most important area in terms
of richness of endemic plants. This area constitutes most of the
endemic plant species distributed in Turkey. East Anatolia Region has
also a rich diversity of species and ranked secondly in terms of
endemism rate. The most important diversity centers found in East
Anatolia are the Erzincan and Erzurum provinces and high mountains
found in the South of Van Lake.
Floristic studies carried out until now have shown that
Erzurum province constitutes about 255 endemic plant
taxa. Most of them belong to the Aceraceae, Fabaceae,
Scrophulariaceae, Lamiaceae, Asteraceae plant families.
Many plant species are introduced to science from Eastern
Anatolia as:
Elymus hoffmanni (Jensen and Asay, 1996)
Centaurea yildizii (Türkoǧlu et al., 2003)
Salvia hedgeana (Donmez, 2001)
Vicia erzurumica (Erik and Demirkuş, 1998)
Latest event: Fritillaria michailovskyi
“crying tulip”
«reverse tulip»
These plants are known as “crying tulip” ‘’reverse tulip’’ or
“crying bride” among Turkish people. It is believed that the “crying
tulip’’ was grown using Mother Marry tears as nutrient after Jesus
Christ was crucified. Therefore, this flower is holly among many
In Turkey, 20 of 43 species are endemic.
The “crying tulip” Fritillaria michailovskyi is distributed in
Erzurum (Karayazı) province only.
There was a bad event in the recent months. The last remaining 57
species have been removed by foreign experts. Fortunately, they
were cought while trying to smuggle the bulbs through the border.
Thankfully, the bulbs were brought back to
University ‘ATA Botanic Park’ is planning
to replicate this plant.
This is a very good recent news.
Unfortunately, this diversity and endemic animals and plants are
under considerable threat. The habitats in mountainous and coastal
dunes are under threat of human beings due to tourism activities.
According to many researchers, the wildlife in Turkey is having
hard time in regenerating as the other countries on the Earth. That is
the reason why it is really important to protect the diversity of
animals and plants.
Many plant and animal species are waiting your’s help to survive in
East Anatolia, Turkey and various parts of the world.
I want to my
It is hopefull observe that there is increased
biodiversity in Eastern Anataolia.

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