Although Egypt’s climate is rather dry and warm, 9 ecoregions can be distinguished across its surface, ranging from shrub steppes and savannas to xerophilous mountains and deserts of all kinds, including the Sahara desert itself.
Can you imagine the great diversity of flora and fauna that exists in Egypt? Do you know which are the endemic species? In this interesting AgroCorrn article we will answer these questions and tell you about the main species of flora and fauna in Egypt .
Characteristics of the flora and fauna of Egypt
Before specifying which are the species of Egypt, we must know that 97% of the country’s surface is occupied by desert areas , which is why the enormous diversity of flora and fauna of Egypt has characteristics of adaptation to the desert . However, in the Nile River valley and in the oases that are found in the deserts , a great variety of flora and fauna develop with particularities different from those of the desert species. Here you can learn more about what is biological adaptation, its types and examples .
In the next sections we will talk about some species of flora and fauna of this magnificent country and we will detail their peculiarities. We will also mention animal species from Egypt that are at risk of extinction.
Flora of Egypt
The vegetation of Egypt has a strong importance in the culture of the Egyptians. Essential oils and essences are obtained from many species that are used for medicinal and aesthetic uses and also for perfumes, which are then exported to other countries. Here are some plant species from Egypt :
The Egyptian lotus ( Nymphaea caerulea ), also called Egyptian blue lotus, is an aquatic plant that is estimated to have its original distribution along the Nile. Its flower is characterized by opening during the day and closing at night, therefore , in Ancient Egypt they related it to the sun, precisely as a daily rebirth. Today, it is used for perfumery and aromatherapy.
The papyrus or Cyperus papyrus , is a marsh plant that grows on the banks of the Nile River. It was used as a writing support in Ancient Egypt and also to make footwear and even boats. It was also a source of food, since its roots were consumed, and of medicines, for its healing properties.
This tree ( Balanites aegyptiaca ) has many thorns and produces a yellow fruit that is edible. This species is estimated to have been cultivated in Egypt for over 4000 years.
Particularly the Acacia nilotica species , it is distributed throughout Africa and is endemic to Egypt. It is used frequently as food, medicine and ornament and also for its wood. It was highly praised by the Egyptian culture since they considered this species as “the tree of life”.
Get to know more species from desert areas with this other article about 25 names of desert plants .
Fauna of Egypt
When we think of the animals of Egypt, the first thing that comes to mind is the camel , but in reality this country has a great ornithological diversity with more than 300 species of birds. In addition, it features crocodiles, elephants, hippos, gazelles, hyenas, felines, foxes, snakes, fish, and more animal species. Here we will tell you some of them:
Scientifically known as Mustela subpalmata , it is an endemic species of Egypt, specifically its distribution is limited to the north of the country.
Also endemic to Egypt, the mongoose ( Herpestes ichneumon ) is a carnivorous mammal that inhabits the Sahara desert.
This species ( Crocodylus niloticus ), has a wide distribution beyond the Nile. In ancient Egypt, crocodiles were mummified and through them they worshiped Sobek, a crocodile king related to fertility.
The Egyptian vulture ( Neophron percnopterus percnopterus ), has a wide distribution in the African continent and a great implication for Egyptian mythology, since Nekhbet, a vulture goddess, represented Upper Egypt.
Here you can discover more Animals of the Sahara desert .
Endangered animals in Egypt
Unfortunately, many of the species that are part of the fauna of Egypt are at risk of extinction. Below we will list some vulnerable or endangered animal species in Egypt :
- Arabian leopard ( Panthera pardus ). Globally it is critically endangered and in Egypt it is considered completely extinct.
- Nubian ibex ( Capra ibex nubiana ). It is classified as vulnerable to extinction.
- Common Gazelle ( Gazella dorca ). Although globally it is vulnerable to extinction, in the Mediterranean area, which includes Egypt, it is in danger of extinction.
- Egyptian lizard ( Uromastyx aegyptia ). It is listed as vulnerable to extinction.
- Addax antelope ( Addax nasomaculatus ). It is critically endangered
- Oryx of Arabia ( Oryx leucoryx ). It is classified as vulnerable to extinction.
- Nile softshell turtle ( Trionyx triunguis ). Species considered vulnerable to extinction.
- Spotted vulture ( Gyps rueppelli ). Globally classified as critically endangered.
- Saker Falcon ( Falco cherrug ). It is listed as endangered.