Bermuda

About

Bermuda, the oldest of the UK’s remaining Overseas Territories, is located in the western North Atlantic, 965 km east of Cape Hatteras, USA. With a total land area of just 55 km², it comprises over 150 limestone islands that sit on the largest of three volcanic seamounts formed about 110 million years ago. Influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, Bermuda’s shallow-water platform covers an area of about 1000 km², and supports the northernmost coral-reef system in the world. Bermuda’s low-rolling hills are largely suburban in character, supporting a resident population of over 60,000 concentrated on the 7 largest islands.

About 250 of over 8,000 species known from Bermuda, are unique. Over 80 species of these are found in the extensive network of submerged caves and, like the cahow Pterodroma cahow and Bermuda skink Eumeces longirostris, are Critically Endangered. Others, such as the Bermuda cedar Juniperus bermudiana, nearly wiped out in the 1940s by an introduced scale insect, are more common, due to restoration efforts.

Thirty-eight species of hard corals species and 25 species soft coral species have been recorded here.

Seagrass beds and mangroves around Bermuda are also the most northerly extreme of their range. They are very important feeding grounds for juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas, which come to Bermuda from all over the Caribbean.

Nonsuch Island to the northeast of Bermuda at the eastern end of Castle Bay supports the largest populations of several rare, endemic and native plant species, and represents the largest single example of upland and coastal native forest without any significant introduced species. The Bermuda petrel or cahow Pterodroma cahow, thought to be extinct for 400 years, was rediscovered in the late 1940s nesting in tiny islets near here. Over some 65 years, intensive conservation action has protected and rebuilt the nests, culminating in the successful re-establishment of the species on the higher and larger Nonsuch.  It supports also significant percentages of the world population of several other species, including the white-tailed tropic-bird Phaethon lepturus, the Bermuda skink Eumeces longirostris and the snail Poecilozonites circumfirmatus.

Bermuda has several important wetland areas including freshwater and brackish salt water ponds. The latter support healthy mangrove swamps and salt marshes. They contain unique fish such as the Bermuda killifish Fundulus bermudae and algae such as Sargassum bermudense, together with invertebrate communities and some important nesting and foraging areas for water birds.

The underwater caves in the area support a number of critically endangered cave organisms, including the shrimp Somersiella sterri, the isopod Bermudalana arboide and many microbes.

Read more about the wildlife, history and cultural heritage of all of the UK Overseas Territories in the 704 page Britain’s Treasure Islands book (CLICK HERE).

Watch 42 ‘mini-documentaries’ that explore the wildlife, cultures and history of all of the UK Overseas Territories (CLICK HERE). 

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Video

Bermuda – wildlife and heritage

 

Read more about the wildlife, history and cultural heritage of all of the UK Overseas Territories in the 704 page Britain’s Treasure Islands book (CLICK HERE).

Watch 42 ‘mini-documentaries’ that explore the wildlife, cultures and history of all of the UK Overseas Territories (CLICK HERE).