IN PHOTOS: Let Us Take A Moment To Remember The 15 Species That Went Down With The Azure Window

While most people are focused on the rock that fell, some care more about the life that was on it

Cricket

One year ago today, the iconic Azure Window came crashing down, making the news worldwide. A 28-metre-tall natural arch on the island of Gozo, the Window was also the home of a unique ecosystem that is now extinct.

"As a naturalist I always saw the Azure Window differently, and when I was in my teens I always hoped that that it would collapse in my lifetime," Arnold Sciberras told Lovin Malta. Arnold has a valid reason for such a hope.

"I always hoped that the middle arch would collapse leaving the outer stack, and the ecosystem on it, free standing," he said. "This would have created a natural laboratory where the endemic species trapped on the mentioned stack are isolated and would eventually evolve according to the new micro-habitat. This is nothing new to our islands as we are peppered by other small islands that have unique biodiversity." However, the Azure Window collapsed from the stack region, literally dashing his dream on the rocks.

While none of these species are extinct, some of them are rare and endemic and found only in the Dwejra region. With the Azure Window's collapse, their population took a substantial hit.

Arnold, along with botanist Jeffrey Sciberras and marine biologist Patrick Vella had documented the species of flora that were on the natural arch before it collapsed.  These plants, along with species of insects like crickets, fell into the sea exactly one year ago today. Let us remember our fallen flora. 

1. Maltese everlasting

Helichrysum melitense

Helichrysum Melitense

2. Egyptian St. John Wort

Hypericum aegypticum

Pubescent St John S Wort By Floramelitensis D3H1B7F

3. Maltese Salt-rree

Darniella melitensis

Maltese Salt Tree By Floramelitensis D28T46C

4. Dodder

Cuscuta epithymum

1200Px Cuscuta Epithymum1

5. Sea-side carrot

Daucus gingidium

Semi Opened Wild Carrot By Floramelitensis D309Cwo

6. Sea-side squill

Urginea pancration

Sea Side Squill By Floramelitensis D1Ymqc0

7. Grey Bird's trefoil

Lotus cytisoides

Lotus Cytisoides Habitus

8. Pitch clover

Psoralea bituminosa

Jcs Psoralea Bituminosa 42498

9. Maltese sea-lavender

Limonium melitensis

Maltese Sea Lavender Flower By Floramelitensis D28575H

10. Shrubby glasswort 

Arthrocnemum macrostachyum

Th

11. Coastal ragwort

Senecio leucanthemifolius

Senecio Leucanthemifolius 08 Europa Foreshore 3 12 2015

12. Rock crosswort

Crucianell rupestris

Crucianella Rupestris Img 8410

13. Maltese sea chamomile

Anthemis urvilleana

Maltese Sea Chamomile By Floramelitensis D1Yiwsx

14. Golden Samphire

Limbarda crithmoides

Inula Crithmoides

15. Mediterranean Reichardia 

Reichardia intermedia

1200Px Reichardia Intermedia Kz1

BONUS: House cricket

Acheta Domesticus

Sure, it might not be part of the area's flora and there are (thankfully?) still enough of these little critters around, but a couple of these guys might've still been lost a year ago.

1200Px Acheta Domesticus Adultes Weibchen

What species was your favourite? 

READ NEXT: Wild Squirrels Are Now Officially A Thing In Malta

Written By

Johnathan Cilia

Johnathan is interested in the weird, dark, and wonderful contradictions our late-capitalist society forces upon us. He also likes music and food. Contact him at johnathan@lovinmalta.com.

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