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
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
2. Egyptian St. John Wort
3. Maltese Salt-rree
5. Sea-side carrot
6. Sea-side squill
7. Grey Bird's trefoil
8. Pitch clover
9. Maltese sea-lavender
10. Shrubby glasswort
11. Coastal ragwort
12. Rock crosswort
13. Maltese sea chamomile
14. Golden Samphire
15. Mediterranean Reichardia
BONUS: House cricket
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.