Islas Marietas National Park and Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)

Islas Marietas National Park and Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 19:59
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Islas Marietas are a group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast of the state of Nayarit, southwest of the peninsula known as Punta de Mita. The islands are characterized by their wealth of bird and fish fauna. The island archipelago is both a National Park and Biosphere Reserve.

Islas Marietas (Marieta Islands) are a group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast of the state of Nayarit, Mexico, in federal waters 7.9 km (4.9 mi) southwest of the peninsula known as Punta de Mita, in the municipality of Bahía de Banderas. The island archipelago is both a National Park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The Islas Marietas, an archipelago made up of two islands and two islets, are located in the transitional zone between the Nearctic and Neotropical biogeographic regions, thus, both on land and in the marine zone, species cohabit which are found at the southern and northern respective limits of distribution.

The Marieta Islands are an archipelago comprising two larger and two smaller islands. They are located in an area where three water masses converge: the California Current, the Costa Rican Coastal Current, and the mass of water from the Gulf of California. This convergence has enabled a habitat to develop where marine species characteristic of the Mexican center and south Pacific cohabit with those from the Gulf of California and the Pacific Coast of Baja California.

 

The islands are characterized by their wealth of bird and fish fauna. They are a fundamental part of the reproductive processes of endangered species, such as the Humpbacked Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and harbor the largest nesting colonies in Mexico of the Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster), the Bridled Tern (Sterna anaethetus) and the Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus); and for the Pacific, the Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla).

The Islands are home to 44 different species of plants and wildlife. Many species of seabirds use the location as feeding and breeding grounds, these include blue-footed boobies as well as the red-billed tropicbirds. It also has many different varieties of coral, which, in turn, is home to a large variety of reef fish species.

The island ecosystem is also home to dolphins, Manta Rays and a number of tropical fish. Eels and many species of sea turtles are also found in the reefs and the many caves that dot the site. During the winter months humpback whales arrive at the islands and can be observed all through winter.