Note: Auditorio de Tenerife Pano // Spartocytisus supranubius // Urville-Laguna
Before the arrival of the Aborigines, the Canary Islands was inhabited by endemic animals, such as some extinct; giant lizards (Gallotia goliath), giant rats (Canariomys bravoi and Canariomys tamarani) and giant tortoises (Geochelone burchardi and Geochelone vulcanica), among others.
With a range of habitats, the Canary Islands exhibit diverse plant species. The bird life includes European and African species, such as the black-bellied sandgrouse; and a rich variety of endemic (local) taxa including the:
- Graja, a subspecies of red-billed chough endemic to La Palma
- Blue chaffinch (endemic to Tenerife and Gran Canaria)
- Canary Islands chiffchaff
- Fuerteventura chat
- Tenerife goldcrest
- La Palma chaffinch
- Canarian Egyptian vulture
- Bolle's pigeon
- Laurel pigeon
- Plain swift
- Houbara bustard
- †Canary Islands oystercatcher (extinct)
Terrestrial fauna includes geckos, wall lizards, and three endemic species of recently rediscovered and critically endangered giant lizard: the El Hierro giant lizard (or Roque Chico de Salmor giant lizard), La Gomera giant lizard, and La Palma giant lizard. Mammals include the Canarian shrew, Canary big-eared bat, the Algerian hedgehog (which may have been introduced) and the more recently introduced mouflon. Some endemic mammals, the lava mouse, Tenerife giant rat and Gran Canaria giant rat, are extinct, as are the Canary Islands quail, long-legged bunting, and the eastern Canary Islands chiffchaff.
The marine life found in the Canary Islands is also varied, being a combination of North Atlantic, Mediterranean and endemic species. In recent years, the increasing popularity of both scuba diving and underwater photography have provided biologists with much new information on the marine life of the islands.
Fish species found in the islands include many species of shark, ray, moray eel, bream, jack, grunt, scorpionfish, triggerfish, grouper, goby, and blenny. In addition, there are many invertebrate species, including sponge, jellyfish, anemone, crab, mollusc, sea urchin, starfish, sea cucumber and coral.
There are a total of 5 different species of marine turtle that are sighted periodically in the islands, the most common of these being the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. The other four are the green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle and Kemp's ridley sea turtle. Currently, there are no signs that any of these species breed in the islands, and so those seen in the water are usually migrating. However, it is believed that some of these species may have bred in the islands in the past, and there are records of several sightings of leatherback sea turtle on beaches in Fuerteventura, adding credibility to the theory.
Marine mammals include the large varieties of cetaceans including rare and not well-known species (see more details in the Marine life of the Canary Islands). Hooded seals have also been known to be vagrant in the Canary Islands every now and then. The Canary Islands were also formerly home to a population of the rarest pinniped in the world, the Mediterranean monk seal.
Native flora gallery
National parks of the Canary Islands
- Caldera de Taburiente National Park (La Palma): Created in 1954 and declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 2002. It currently covers an area of 46.9 km2 (18.1 sq mi).
- Garajonay National Park (La Gomera): Created in 1981 and declared in 1986 as a World Heritage Site. Its area is 3986 hectares at the core and some areas north of the island.
- Timanfaya National Park (Lanzarote): Created in 1974 and declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1993, together with the whole island. Occupies an area of 51.07 km2 (19.72 sq mi), is located in the southwest of the island.
- Teide National Park (Tenerife): Created in 1954, was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007. It covers an area of 18,990 hectares, is the oldest and largest national park in the Canary Islands and one of the oldest in Spain. The Teide in 2010 became the most visited national park in Europe and second worldwide. Located in the geographic center of the island is the most visited National Park in Spain. The highlight is the Teide at 3,718 meters altitude, is the highest elevation of the country and the third largest volcano on Earth from its base. Teide National Park was declared in 2007 as one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
A unique form of wrestling known as Canarian wrestling (lucha canaria) has opponents stand in a special area called a "terrero" and try to throw each other to the ground using strength and quick movements.
Another sport is the "game of the sticks" where opponents fence with long sticks. This may have come about from the shepherds of the islands who would challenge each other using their long walking sticks.
Another sport is called the shepherd's jump (salto del pastor). This involves using a long stick to vault over an open area. This sport possibly evolved from the shepherd's need to occasionally get over an open area in the hills as they were tending their sheep.
- Javier Dorado, born in 2000, from the Islands of Lanzarote, Division 1 basketball player in the US
- Nicolás García Hemme, born 20 June 1988 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, 2012 London Olympics, Taekwondo Silver Medalist in Men's Welterweight category (−80 kg).
- Alfredo Cabrera, (1881–1964); shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1913
- Sergio Rodríguez, born in San Cristóbal de La Laguna in 1986, played point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and New York Knicks
- David Silva, born in Arguineguín in 1986, plays association football for Manchester City, member of the 2010 FIFA World Cup champion Spain national football team
- Juan Carlos Valerón, born in Arguineguín in 1975, plays association football for Las Palmas
- Pedro, born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1987, plays association football for Chelsea, member of the 2010 FIFA World Cup champion Spain national football team
- Carla Suárez Navarro, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1988, professional tennis player
- Paola Tirados, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1980, synchronized swimmer, who participated in the Olympic Games of 2000, 2004 and 2008. She won the silver medal in Beijing in 2008 in the team competition category.
- Jesé, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1993, plays association football for Parisian club Paris Saint-Germain
- Christo Bezuidenhout, born in Tenerife in 1970, played rugby union for Gloucester and South Africa.
- Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1797)
- First Battle of Acentejo
- Pyramids of Güímar
- Second Battle of Acentejo
- Tenerife airport disaster; prior to the 9/11 attacks, the deadliest commercial aviation disaster in history.