How many species?
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Great Britain has 44 species of indigenous terrestrial mammals, extant or recently extinct. In contrast Ireland, only 20 miles further into the Atlantic, has just 22. It could be argued that this simply reflects the difficulties that land mammals face in crossing water, were it not for the fact that it affects bats also; only 7 of Britain’s 13 species breed in Ireland. Birds especially, have little difficulty in crossing water, indeed only 6 of Britain’s 171 breeding species have not been recorded in Ireland, and yet 39 have never bred there and another 24 do so only occasionally. Why is there such a great difference in the numbers of species living and breeding on these two islands? Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two is that Great Britain is much larger than Ireland.
KeywordsSpecies Number Habitat Diversity Small Island Extinction Rate Large Island
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