ANACAPA ISLAND NATURAL HISTORY

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  • Native terrestrial mammals (1):
Island deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus anacapae)
  • Native amphibians (1):
Channel Islands Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps pacificus)
  • Native reptiles (2)
Blue-bellied lizard (Uta stansburiana)
Alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinatus)


BOTANY: The flora of Anacapa Island includes about 190 native taxa, 22 California Islands endemics, and 80 non-native taxa for a total of 270 species. Botanical exploration began on Anacapa in 1889.

The three islets of Anacapa Island, with a combined area of 2.9 square km, lie 20 km off the coast of southern California. Historically, each of Anacapa's islets have been subjected to periodic grazing by sheep, and the eastern islet has also had a sizeable population of introduced rabbits. In spite of these past perturbations, the recovery of the island's vegetation has been remarkable since sheep removal in 1937. Despite its small size, Anacapa Island supports a surprising diversity of vascular plants, with over 235 taxa from 50 plant families. Twenty of these taxa are restricted to the California Islands; one annual species of Malacothrix occurs as a narrow endemic found only on Middle Anacapa Island, while another annual subspecies of Malacothrix is known only from West and East Anacapa. The floral diversity of this island has apparently been influenced by its close proximity to the mainland and other larger islands, and by its diverse topography. Anacapa Island supports a slightly larger native flora than San Miguel Island, which is about 13 times larger and is located about 80 km to the west. The Anacapa native flora is more than twice the size of that found on Santa Barbara Island, which has about the same area as Anacapa Island but is located approximately 100 km to the southeast [Steve Junak 2016].