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Pembroke Local Council

Contents Editorial Note.......................................................................................................................... ii Message by the Minister for Tourism ............................................................................. ii Message by the Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority ................................. iii Message by the CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority............................................ iii Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project map ..................................................................iv A Snapshot of Pembroke ....................................................................................................1 Flora of Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project .............................................................5 Fauna at Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project ...........................................................9 The Malacofauna of the Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project ........................... 15 The Avifauna of Pembroke .............................................................................................. 19 The Coastal Biological Assets at Pembroke ............................................................ 23 Natura 2000 Sites in the Maltese Islands ................................................................. 27 Pembroke History ............................................................................................................... 31 Bio Note on Authors ......................................................................................................... 33

Copyright Š Malta Tourism Authority and Nature Trust Malta, 2013 Malta Tourism Authority, Auberge D’Italie, Merchants Street,

Project Co-Ordinator: Francelle Azzopardi Malta Tourism Authority Product Development Directorate

Nature Trust Malta, Lower Level, Car Park 1, University of Malta, Msida, Malta

Photo Credits: Vincent Attard, Leslie Vella, Alan Deidun, Glorianne Borg Axisa, Denis Cachia, Chris Cachia Zammit, David P. Cilia, Pamela Mason, Luca Pisani, Arnold Sciberras, Jeffrey Sciberras, Joe Sultana, Mark Sultana, Julie Tabone, Aaron Tanti, Matthew Borg Cardona

purpose of research and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Acknowledgements: Nature Trust Malta, Malta Environment and Planning Authority, Armed Forces of Malta, Pembroke Local Council, Lands Department, Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna

The editors take no responsibility of the articles presented by the various authors ISBN: 978-99932-18-10-4

Visitors’ Site Guide

Dr Gavin Gulia

Mr Josef Formosa Gauci

Message by the Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority

Message by the CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority

The Council of Pembroke has a remarkable site of ecological importance, one that we should be proud of. Boasting a unique ecological formation, this Natura 2000 site supports a rich and diverse natural system. It is our duty to conserve this Natura 2000 site for future generations to enjoy.

This project forms part of a much larger ERDF-funded project that resulted in the upgrading of a kilometre of promenade in St Paul’s Bay, the National Aquarium in Qawra and the development of a Garden along with a walking/cycling trail in Pembroke. The value of the investment exceeded 21 million Euros.

This is why, the Malta Tourism Authority has adopted and is supporting the implementation of the Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project with Nature Trust and other various stakeholders - a project which is striving towards improving the accessibility and the management of this important site. Apart from the benefits to the local community, this project is also aimed to communicate to our foreign visitors the richness in biodiversity of these special areas.

What the MTA is publishing here is the end-result of this intervention in Pembroke, whereby the vast Natura 2000 site is being interpreted for all those who visit and will give added-value to the 2.5km walking trail which connects Pembroke Garden and the recently restored Madliena Tower. Few people realise that this type of terrain – garigue – offers a rich and varied spectrum of fauna and flora. The area also boasts some interesting historic artefacts that result from the defence mechanisms in place during both the Knights’ and the British period. This infrastructure is ideal for locals and visitors who would like to engage in activities during the off-peak periods.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that was involved in this project.

In this way we are all working together to enable the appreciation of similar sites and for them to be incorporated as part of our tourism product.




























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It is the responsibility of visitors to approach this heritage trail with caution. Individuals should ensure that they are fit before embarking on any outdoor activities. Visitors are warned not to venture outside the heritage trail when the red flags are up between the desalination plant and Madliena Tower. Red flags mean that the Armed Forces of Malta are carrying out military exercises in this area. Please keep to the track. Children should not be left unattended in this heritage trail. Adults should accompany the children at all times.

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Rocky beach



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Do not walk in Range D and E area when the red flags are flying as this means that the Armed Forces of Malta are conducting military practice.



Kamra Militari tal-Era Vittorjana | British Victorian Military Room

Visitors’ Site Guide

A Snapshot of Pembroke PEMBROKE, AN OVERVIEW Glorianne Borg Axisa

Pembroke is a coastal locality, predominantly residential, on the fringe of the harbour region. It is located on the eastern coast of mainland Malta, at the borders of Swieqi, Naxxar and St Julian’s. The jurisdiction of Pembroke Local Council covers a total area of 2.3km and the locality hosts c. 3,443 residents

Pembroke is endowed with areas of conservation value, as evident from the list of scheduled sites [legally protected heritage property] by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority. These sites are scattered all over the locality both within the settlement and outside the built up area. The sites of conservation value include areas of cultural heritage, such as buildings of historical

Plate 1.1 Location of Pembroke in the Maltese Islands

and architectural importance, and sites of natural importance, such as coastal geomorphological features, the biophysical environment and ecology. The level of conservation value varies with each site.

The scheduled property of architectural importance in Pembroke reveals the locality’s history. One of the first buildings recorded in the area is Madliena Tower, built by the Knights of the Order of St John. The other buildings worth conserving are mainly related to the area’s importance as a military base during the British period. These buildings include: Pistol Ranges, Rifle Ranges, Gun Mounts, Barrack Buildings, including specific offices and service quarters such as the infirmary, various married quaters for the soldiers, the Military Cemetary, Australia Hall, Coal Stores, the Armoury, the Clock Tower, Fort Pembroke and Pembroke Battery. The distribution of these Military buildings, their appearance and surrounding open spaces enhance a local identity. The Military history of Pembroke, before the 1980s, has limited its landuse and the population size of the area. The first census population record of the localty, was taken in 1995. Before this period, the site was basically unpopulated, especially after the British military users left in 1979. The Military barracks were transformed into residential units and these include St Patrick’s Barracks and Juno Flats. Nevertheless, the population has been on the increase in the past three decades, thanks to the different housing schemes issued by the Housing Authority. The various residential schemes may be distinguished by the cluster of house typologies. One may


observe that the ‘oldest’ residential units were two-storey terraced houses built in the 1980s, some of which are at present being restructured into three-storey apartment units. More recent residential units include maisonettes and apartments, constructed by the Housing Authority. As a result of the increase in the number of households, the population of Pembroke is young compared to the national average. In 2011, 37.9% of the population of Pembroke was under 24 years of age. The national average of the 65+ age-group was 16.3%, whilst that of Pembroke is c. 4.7%. The population density is currently c 1,495/km2 (NSO, 2012) Graph 1.3 indicates the population growth in the past decades, according to statistics published by the NSO (National Statistics Office). Pembroke’s population is expected to rise to between 6,000 and 7,000 (North Harbour Local Plan, 1996).


Considering the ever-increasing population and hence a more extensive demand for goods and services, the services available are still limited specifically to low order goods that provide the basic daily requirements of the community. The provision of more community facilities and employment-based centres is encouraged by the Local Plan policy, especially since more land is earmarked for residential use. Moreover, this would further increase the job opportunities in the locality, which is easily accessible due to its close proximity to the Regional Road. This is

outlined in one of the Local Plan policies that addresses the opportunity to balance the traffic flow along the arterial road system and junction. Pembroke hosts a number of public and private primary and secondary schools and other educational institutions, which do not only cater for the children of the surrounding settlements but have a more extensive catchment area. Hence, various means of transport, mainly private cars, commute regularly to the area, generating more traffic in the peak morning hours and the afternoon. Pembroke also offers a varied mixture of sports facilities, including football pitches and tennis courts. The availability of sports facilities is expected to increase since the Local Plan policies aim to promote sport and recreation facilities for residents and visitors. Moreover, the residents of Pembroke can enjoy extensive areas of open spaces since a considerable amount of land is designated as Outside Development Zone by the Local Planning agency, MEPA. In the Malta Government Gazzette dating back to1996, a vast extent of the littoral in Pembroke and the adjacent valley were scheduled as areas of Ecological Importance and Sites of Scientific Importance. In 2007, the site was listed as Special Area of Conservation (Govenment Notice 112, 2007). The geomorphological features characteristic of these sites include solution subsidence structures, caves and



1995 2005 2009



Plate 1.2: An aerial view of Pembroke indicating the extents of the built up areas (Source: Google Maps)



Graph 1.3 The Population of Pembroke Source of data: NSO Census on Population 2005, NSO Demographic Review 2009, Census of Population and Housing 2011, Preliminary Report, 2012

Visitors’ Site Guide

karstland, locally better known as Xag˙ri, which result from the geological structure, predominantly the Lower Coralline formation. Óarq Óammiem is a large natural cavern at Wied Óarq Óammiem, which separates Pembroke from St Julians. The cavern encloses a 300m2 very deep waterbody. One of the underwater chambers of the cave system is completely submerged. Access to this site is restricted since it is within private property. The karst terrain of the coastal strip, extending from the hotel establishments on the promontory of St George’s Bay, to the White Rocks area, are colonised by various vegetation assemblages such as rocky steppe, garigue and clusters of trees including the Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) and the Carob (Ceratonia siliqua). The plant species present along the rocky shoreline are adapted to resist the local conditions of exposure to sea spray. An example of a common halophyt species (halophytes resist sea spray and salinity) found in Pembroke is the Golden Samphire (Inula crithmoides). Pembroke’s karst is considered an area of scientific importance due to its rich biodiversity. Endemic species found here include the Maltese Dwarf Garlic (Allium lojaconoi) and the Maltese Fleabane (Chiliadenus bocconei). It is also considered as an orchidaic area, since rare orchids such as the Late Spider Orchid (Ophrys oxyrrhynchos) and the Long-lipped Tongue-orchid (Serapias vomeracea) are found here. Moreover, during the wet seasons one may observe rockpools that support various species and in this relatively extensive vegetated area one may note various bird species.

Nevertheless, stretches of opportunistic species that indicate disturbance in the area are also present. The concentration of disturbed grounds is mainly along the vehicular tracks and pathways that segment the karst landscape. Off track parking, trampling, burning and littering are some of the anthropic activities that disrupt a dynamic ecosystem like the one found in the ‘garigue park’. Pembroke, with its various facets, as outlined above, presents a challenge to all stakeholders; residents, NGOs, entrepreneurs, and planners. Residents and visitors have to learn to maintain a lifestyle that respects and safeguards the surrounding geophysical, ecological and historical environment, in order to avoid landuse conflicts that otherwise would undermine the locality’s identity, for everyone to enjoy and be proud of . References sª sª sª sª sª sª sª

Malta Government Gazzette, Scheduling Government Notice 583/96, 6 September 1996, Malta. Malta Government Gazzette, Scheduling Government Notice 370/08, 23 April, Malta. Malta Environment and Planning Authority, “North Harbour Local Plan”, (1996), Malta. Ministeru tax- Xoghlijiet, “ Arei ghall-Izvilupp tal-bini, Bcejjec ta’ Art ghall- Bejgh”, 1993 National Statistics Office, “Census 2005: Population and Social Conditions” (2006), Malta National Statictics Office, “Demographic Review 2009”, (2010), Malta National Statistics Office, “Census of Population and Housing 2011, Preliminary Report” (2012), Malta

Websites sª

Malta Environment and Planning Authority, Malta Scheduled Property Register at (accessed 28 December 2010) Nature Trust Malta, Pembroke at http://www.naturetrustmalta. org/what-we-do/natural-parks/pembroke/ (accessed 13 January 2011) Kunsill Lokali Pembroke, Informazzjoni Generali, http://www. (accessed 15 January 2011)


Narรงis | French Daffodil | Narcissus tazzetta

Visitors’ Site Guide

Flora of Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project Jeffrey Sciberras and Luca Pisani

The natural site of Pembroke occupies roughly half the size of the entire area of Pembroke. The natural landscape of Pembroke consists of one of the few remaining karstlands found on the eastern coast of the island of Malta. This karstland is dominated by three types of habitat: coastal garigue; inland garigue and steppe; and some freshwater marshland. Pembroke also has several fallow fields and abandoned areas along the site, where a mixture of perennial indigenous species has recolonised. Along the border of the site, one can be sure to find expanses of the Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum coronarium), Common Honeywort (Cerinthe major), Red Champion (Silene colorata), Boar Thistle (Galactites tomentosa), and so on. Where water trickles continuously, tall and broad-leaved grassy plants with red inflorescences, called Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) will be easy to spot in autumn, accompanied by the contrasting dwarf plants, Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca) and the Autumn Buttercup (Ranunculus bullatus) along the nearby path. The latter also cover pockets of soil in the garigue when in season. Here, one can also find large species such as the Tree Mallow (Lavatera arborea), Common Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and Wild Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus). Unoccupied patches are being claimed by Aloe vera and Chasmanthe bicolor, two invasive alien species. The coastal zone offers refuge for the ever salt-resistant Sea Samphire (Chritmum maritimum), Golden Samphire (Limbardia crithmoides), Coast Medick (Lotus cytisoides), Maltese Sea Chamomile (Anthemis urvilleana), and the Rock Crosswort (Crucianella rupestris). Accompanying

these species is the Silvery Ragwort (Senecio bicolor), which is not so common here. In a small patch along the coast, one may find a cluster of the largest and rarest species of Sea-Lavender to occur in the Maltese islands, the Limonium serotinum. The shoreline of Pembroke boasts the largest population of Herbaceous Seepweed

Limonju Kbir | Large Leaved Sea Lavender |Limonium serotinum

(Suaeda maritima) in Malta, which grows nearest to the sea. Adjacent to the reverse osmosis (desalination) plant resides a very rare and endemic Maltese Sand Broomrape (Orobanche densiflora var. melitensis).


Pembroke’s inland garigue holds a good variety of patches dominated by certain shrubby species; thus the entire garigue ecosystem onsite is not uniform. Visible examples are the Mediterranean Heath (Erica multiflora), Lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus), Olives (Olea europea), Olive-leaved Germander (Teucrium fruticans), and Mediterranean Thyme (Thymbra capitata), while dominant bulbous species such as the Branched Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus), Autumn Squill (Scilla autumnalis) and the Seaside Squill (Urginea pancration) also follow this pattern. One very

Tursin il-G˙ul Xewwieki | Thorny Burnet | Sarcopoterium spinosum

the tiny Maltese Dwarf Garlic (Allium lojaconoi) is known to occur in the area. The very rare Yellow Mignonette (Reseda lutea) is also known to reside in ruderal areas of Pembroke (E. Lanfranco personal comm.) Other species are unusually found solitarily as rare individuals on their own within the site, such as the Evergreen Honeysuckle (Lonicera implexa), Wolfbane (Periploca angustifolia), Squinancywort (Asperula cyanchica), Sicilian and Great Snapdragons (Antirrhinum siculum and A. tortuosum), Figs (Ficus carica), Wavyleaved Mullein (Verbascum sinuatum), French Daffodils (Narcissus tazzetta), the Maltese Fleabane (Chiliadenus bocconei), and Caper (Capparis orientalis).


Orkida Piramidali ta’ Malta | Maltese Pyramidal Orchid | Anacamptis urvilleana

spiny shrub in particular, which covers a very small patch and is exclusively found here in the Maltese Islands, is the Thorny Burnet (Sarcopoterium spinosum). Only a recently described and declared endemic, the Maltese Shrubby Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis hermanniae subp. melitensis,) does not follow this pattern, because it is widespread amongst other shrubs. Moreover, the White-hedge Nettle (Prasium majus), Yellow Germander (Teucrium flavum), the wild Olive (Olea europea subp. sylvestris), Eastern Phagnalon (Phagnalon graceum ssp. ginzbergeri) and the Spiny Chicory (Cichorium spinosum) are other shrubs that seem very scattered within the garigue. The Spiny Asparagus (Asparagus aphyllus), Carline Thistle (Carlina involucrata), Friar’s Cowl (Arisarum vulgare), Bladder Champion (Silene vulgaris), Pine Spurge (Euphorbia pinea), and the Serrated Plantain (Plantago serreria) are the rough herbaceous plants that occur in patches where shrubs are absent. Additionally, a healthy population of

Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project is also an oasis for orchids, especially during late winter and spring. The rare Autumn Lady’s Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) flowers first when the rainy seasons arrive. Just behind the tower, there is a small area where over 200 individuals of the Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina) have been observed, along with a good number of the Conical Orchid (Orchis conica) growing together, which is unusual since throughout the rest of the site they are generally solitary or in pairs. The Common Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) grows very densely in the area, especially between the reverse osmosis plant and the tower. Those growing near the reverse osmosis plant have unusually large inflorescences. Just before the pyramidalis begins flowering, one may also encounter a few clumps of the endemic Maltese Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis urvilleana), which flower much earlier. Ophrys species can also be seen scattered all over the park. These include the rare and endemic Maltese Spider Orchid (Ophrys sphegodes subsp. melitensis) and the generally more

Visitors’ Site Guide

common Bumblebee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora). Here, however, the Maltese Spider Orchid is the dominant species, despite being rarer. Pembroke is also home now to the dwarf endemic variety of the Bumblebee Orchid, known as Ophyrs bombyliflora var. parviflora, which has minute flowers compared to the more common relative variety. A few individuals of the normally very common Scented Bug Orchids (Orchis coriophora subsp. fragrans) can also be seen near the White Rocks complex. Serapias species in the area include a few scattered Small-flowered Tongue Orchids (Serapias parviflora), and the very rare Long-lipped Tongue Orchid (Serapias vomeracea) is thought to reside in the area. Other orchids found at this nature site include a few individuals of the Scented Bug Orchid (Orchis fragrans), also seen near the White Rocks complex.

(Sedum caeruleum), which gives the garigue a reddish colour, appealing to the season. Summer in this site also begins with the yellow coastal flowers of the Horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum). By going through the species mentioned as above, one can see just how truly important Pembroke’s countryside is as an ecological haven, supporting several extremely rare and endangered plants, some of which are not found anywhere else on the islands. Its collection of lush vegetation and beautiful, intricate flowers, especially the orchids residing in the area, give reason for such a paradise to be conserved and protected, so that all that Pembroke boasts can be enjoyed and appreciated for generations to come.

While the small garigue rock-pools of the site are welcomed in Winter by the Maltese Waterwort (Elatine gussonei), which is a Pelagian-Maltese endemic, the summer dry rock pools are carpeted by the Blue Stonecrop


Orkida tat-Tikek | Conical Orchid | Orchis conica

References sª

Tewm Irqiq ta’ Malta | Maltese Dwarf Garlic | Allium lojaconoi

Mifsud Stephen (2009), A new form of Ophrys bombyliflora Link described from Malta, Journal of European Orchids Volume 41, part 3 of 4 pp. 611-622

less common fauna, seldom seen elsewhere, also inhabit the park, thus making this area more species-rich

Farfett taz-Ziju | Cleopatra Butterfly | Genopteryx cleopatra

Visitors’ Site Guide

Fauna at Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project Arnold Sciberras and Jeffrey Sciberras

At first glance, this coastal site looks barren and quite lifeless. However, this is far from the truth. When this coastal zone is compared to other coastal areas, with the authors’ observations backed by previous studies, one can easily appreciate how important the location is. This may also be due to the fact that other areas are still understudied. Being surrounded by highly urbanised areas, this location is almost cut off from the remaining natural habitats on the island

A walk on site easily reveals the rich floral diversity of the site, which is extensively described in a separate article. The presence of this vegetative biosphere is surely one of the keys to allowing any fauna to colonise, starting off with the common species not exclusive to this site. However, less common fauna, seldom seen elsewhere, also inhabit the site, thus making this area more speciesrich. The biodiversity of faunal species in Pembroke site has been highlighted in the preliminary list of the ecological appraisal by Cassar (2007). Between 2006 and 2008, one of the authors (AS) assisted in compiling a faunal species list in the action plan of this site by Deidun (2008). This article merely touches upon some interesting macrofauna present or frequently observed at the site, and will deals with species ranging from arthropods to mammals. Molluscs and birds will be dealt in a separate section.

To date, over 200 species have been recorded at Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project, both from past literature and in observations by the present authors. Countless species of arthropods have been noted on site, most of which are still unidentified. As mentioned in the ‘Floral and Habitats’ article within this book, several types of habitats are found in this site. These are based on the vegetation communities coexisting on the terrain/topography of the site, and are referred to as the major or macro habitats. However, each vegetative organism within a major habitat holds a micro-habitat of its own. This is where the ecological importance of fauna comes in. One of the most common insects noticed was the Asphodel Bug (Capsodes lineolatus). The latter species and the Fire Bug (Scantius aegyptius) were observed in their thousands, especially after the first rains. Several Froghopper species (Cercopidae sp.) also compete in large numbers.



Seffud tal-Berwieq | Asphodel Bug | Capsodes lineolatus

Coleopteran species are the most diverse, as in any other locality, and in 2006, numerous Devil Coach Horse Beetles (Staphylinus olens) were seen wondering around and many were found dead in the bottom of freshwater rock-pools, surrounded by Fairy Shrimps (Branchipus schaefferi).

Serp l-Iswed | Juveline Western Whip Snake | Coluber virdiflavus

Another similar species of beetle, the White-Haired Rove Beetle (Creophilus maxillosus) was also noted on site, but much rarer and restricted to a particular micro-habitat, i.e. in dung. Three interesting frequently encountered beetles were the Large Hister Beetle (Macrolister major) and the Yellow Haired and White Spotted Barbary Beetles (Oxythyrea funesta), (Tropinota squalida). Onion weevils (Brachycerus undatus) were more common in past surveys, but the recently-introduced much larger and more vibrant Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus), has become the most conspicuous and infamous insect. Another large introduced insect is the Mulberry WoodBorer (Phryneta Leprosa), a type of Longhorn Beetle. This species is a well-known pest of Mulberry trees, but latest observations show that it is also invading Fig trees in a number of locations (Sciberras et. al, 2010), including on this site. The cosmopolitan Churchyard Beetle (Blags gigas) finds the site a suitable place, as coastal areas are its typical habitat.

Visitors’ Site Guide

were observed visiting the watercourse. One species worth mentioning is the almost invisible Black Pennant (Selysiothemis nigra), which is very rare and localised in the Maltese Islands. Along the bank of the watercourse, several Earwig and Woodlice species (Demaptera sp.) and (Isopoda sp.) were found under rocks, along with a diverse number of arachnids, such as the Red Headed and Beady Spiders (Dysdera crocata), (Steatoda paykulliana). As its name implies, the Common Maltese Woodlouse (Armadillidium schmalfussi), is endemic to the Maltese Islands and is one of the most common invertebrates in the park. HanĆ’ir | Maltese Common Woodlouse | Armadillidium schmalfussi

In Winter, the Soldier Bug (Spilostethus pandurus) is basically the only hemipteran insect in large numbers. Freshwater rockpools and temporary watercourses attract amphibious organisms, and are quite uncommon on site. The Large Diving Beetle (Dytiscus circumflexus) was observed on several occasions, feeding here on Greater and Smaller Backswimmers (Notonecta maculate), (Anisops sardea). Around seven species of dragonflies

About eight species of grasshoppers and six species of crickets were noted onsite. The abundance of grasshoppers varies according to the season. Typical common Winter grasshoppers are the White-banded, Field, and Egyptian Grasshoppers Eyprepocnemis plorans, (Aiolopus strepens), (Anacridium aegyptium), while spring meadows are dominated by Pink-winged, Mediterranean Slant-face and Slender Red-winged Grasshoppers (Calliptamus barbarus), (Acrida ungarica mediterranea), (Acrotylus 11

Qanfud | Vagrant Hedeghog | Erinaceus algirus


ĂŒurdien Geddumu Twil | Pigmy White toothed Shrew | Sancus etruscus

patruelis), and Summer rocky terrain is populated by the Black-banded and Blue-winged Grasshoppers (Oedipoda miniata), (Sphingonotus coerulans). The Common Grey Bush Cricket (Platycleis intermedia) has been viewed more frequently here than in other localities.

Kamaleonte | Mediterranean Chameleon | Chamaelco chameleon

Lepidoptera in the region are quite diverse and several species, particularly moths, were recorded locally at this site for the first time (Sammut, 2000, Fibiger et al., 2007), three of which were recent records of Noctuid moths. The Desert Marbled Moth (Eublemma deserti) is known from a single male collected on site in 2003. This specimen is a new record to the fauna not only of Malta but also of Europe. Another related species, The Marbled Moth (Eublemma conistrota), is known thanks to a single individual collected from Pembroke in 1990. Like the previously mentioned species, this is also a new record

Visitors’ Site Guide

for Europe. The Banded Hind-Winged Moth (Anumeta hilgerti), found as a single male in 1991, is the third species which also represents a new record for this continent. Thirteen species of butterflies have been recorded from this site; two particularly worth mentioning are the Maltese Swallowtail and the Cleopatra butterfly (Papilio machaon melitensis), (Gonepteryx cleopatra). Before dusk at the beginning of Summer, the monotonous loud Cicada Cicada orni slows down its singing, while its nymphs emerge silently from a two-year period of infancy, to become adults for the last term of their lives. Vertebrate species are much less diverse than invertebrates on the islands, yet some of these species can be seen frequently roaming the site. Reptiles, such as the Moorish and Turkish Geckos (Tarentola mauritanica), (Hemidactylus turcicus) are a common sight in this site, as is the introduced Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon). The Western Whip and Cat Snake (Hierophis viridiflavus), (Telescopus fallax) coexist, but the latter species is far less common. This area is typically known by bird trappers as being overrun by Western Whip Snakes, and the authors confirm this notion. This is probably the reason why the endemic Maltese Wall Lizard (Podarcis filfolensis maltensis )is rare here in the natural habitat and is more abundant in urbanised areas. Vagrant Hedgehog (Erinaceus algirus) is common here, too. Unfortunately, several individuals are run over as they cross the many roads going through and surrounding the area. Wild Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and the other four rodent species (Muridae sp) share the habitat and the surrounding fallow fields. A stable population of the beneficial Entruscan Shrew (Suncus etruscus) exists here and the authors had the opportunity to study its feeding behaviour in detail.

Keeping the above species in mind, which species only represent a skeletal overview of the biodiversity present, the reader should instantly realise how important this site is. However, of great concern is the fact that the area is slowly being encroached upon by urbanisation, which has already aggressively grown over the eastern coast in the last few decades. Just a few footsteps away from a hectic modern lifestyle, the wilderness nearby offers a haven for locals, tourists and naturalists alike who want to study, relax and release their daily stress. Thus, this site is not only beneficial for the local ecology and natural heritage but also from a cultural point of view. These aspects of life are essentially important to encourage the authorities to protect what is naturally left in the Maltese Islands. Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Romario Sciberras and Esther Sciberras for their assistance in field work and aiding in compiling the first drafts of this work. Luca Pisani and Aldo Catania are also acknowledged for their observations to this work. References sª

sª sª

Alan Deidun. (2008), Draft management plan for the establishment of a garigue heritage park within the Pembroke Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Report prepared by Nature Trust (Malta) and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA):pp. 107 Louise. F. Cassar, Sandro Lanfranco, and Patrick.J. Schembri, (2007) An ecological appraisal of the special area of conservation – candidate site of international importance, in Pembroke area, Malta. Unpublished work commissioned by Ecoserv Ltd by Nature Trust (Malta). Mark Fibiger Paul Sammut, Anthony Seguna and Aldo Catania (2007), Recent records of Noctuidae from Malta, with five species new to the European fauna, and a new subspecies. Nota Lepidopterologica Volume 29 part 1 of 2, pp.193–213 Paul Sammut (2000), Kullana Kulturali 12 - IlLepidptera. Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza, pp. 245 Arnold Sciberras (2008), Fauna at Majjistral Park . Il- Majjistral Nature and History Park. pp .26-30. Nature Trust Malta publications. Arnold Sciberras, Jeffrey Sciberras, Peppi Gauci and Vince Attard, ‹Alien Insects Pest New Diet›. The Sunday Times, December 5th 2010 pp.88 Arnold Sciberras, Jeffrey Sciberras, Peppi Gauci and Vince Attard (2010), Alien Insects Pest New Diet. The Sunday Times, December 5th, pp.88


G˙akrux | White Garden Snail | Theba pisana

Visitors’ Site Guide

The Malacofauna (Molluscian Fauna) of the Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project David P. Cilia The Pembroke Park area in north-central Malta encompasses a wide range of microhabitats, allowing for an interesting community of supralittoral and terrestrial gastropod species to be observed

the same time unable to live away indefinitely from salt water, which they require for a number of vital functions. The most numerous of these snails is the small Periwinkle Melarhaphe neritoides, found in clusters of hundreds of individuals, together with the rayed Mediterranean Limpet (Patella caerulea), the Rough Limpet (Patella ulyssiponensis), and, in more sheltered places, the Common Topshell (Osilinus turbinatus).

Ûib©iet il-blat | Periwinkle snail | Melarhaphe neritoides

Fieldwork for the present overview was carried out in December 2010 from the supralittoral area inwards. Larger species were observed in the field, while, where possible, small soil and leaf litter samples were collected to be investigated for micromolluscs. On the rocks along the shore, gastropod species are few and far between, though their relative abundance is high. The upper limit of the ‘splash zone’ is characterised by snails adapted to withstand exposure to drought but at

M˙ara | Mediterranean Limpet | Patella caerulea


White Hairy Snail | Xerotricha apicina Small Pointed Snail | Cochicella acuta


Ûugraga | Maltese Topshell | Trochoidea spratti

A few dozen metres away from the coastline, garigue flora, supporting a completely different ecosystem, starts to appear. This habitat boasts a far higher gastropod species richness, owing to more stable environmental conditions and a ubiquitous calcareous substrate that facilitates shell construction. In open areas, the plant assemblage is typical of a Mediterranean xerophilic habitat and is home to species such as the Brilliant White Snail (Sphincterochila candidissima) and the endemic Maltese Tudorella (Tudorella melitense). The latter is the only indigenous terrestrial operculated snail found in the Maltese Archipelago, with a shell similar to other Tudorella species from southern Europe, though it is genetically distinct (Pfenninger et al., 2009). Both mentioned species are relatively halotolerant and are therefore the first representatives of the terrestrial malacofauna to be encountered. Another common endemic species of this habitat is the highly variable Maltese Topshell (Trochoidea spratti); specimens from Pembroke and the surroundings correspond to the form calcarata.

Vertical crevices in the coralline limestone are host to a number of specialised species, including the Door Snails (Papillifera bidens bidens) and (Muticaria macrostoma). The former is a subspecies typical of a variety of habitats in southern Europe, while the latter is an endemic species found in different forms throughout Malta and Gozo, usually with intermediates linking one form to another. The Pembroke population of this snail, in an area spanning just over 1.2km, also shows a distinct pattern of differentiation – specimens from the west of the area (close to Madaliena Tower) have longer hells and wide ribs on the last whorl, corresponding to the form macrostoma, while those in the eastern part (close to the Radisson hotel) have stouter shells and much finer ribs on the last whorl, corresponding to the form oscitans, which is as a rule restricted to southern Malta. The two extremes are linked by intermediates.

Similar soil-filled outcrops harbour individuals of the Crevice Snail (Pleurodiscus balmei) and several miniscule and well-camouflaged Chondrinid Snails (Granopupa granum) interspersed within the loose gravel. Frequently, single specimens of the Enid Snail (Mastus pupa) are encountered, especially at the base of grass and on exposed roots. Some species of snails are flattened and wide-shelled, and are therefore able to live in very narrow spaces, such as those in the humid, compressed soil beneath boulders. Such species in Pembroke include the common Limestone Snail (Caracollina lenticula) and the distinctive

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Other inhabitants of leaf litter include the carnivorous Glass Snail (Oxychilus draparnaudi) , distinguishable by a relatively large, diaphanous and smooth brown shell, and its smaller and less common relative (Oxychilus hydatinus). The small, glossy, Yellow-Bodied Snail (Ferussacia folliculum) is found in high population densities in the same locations and also in open areas, if enough rock cover is present.

Decollote snail | Rumino Decollata

Hairy Snail (Xerotricha conspurcata). Both species mostly inhabit stones amongst leaf litter; the latter’s larger and paler relative, the White Hairy Snail (Xerotricha apicina) is very common in the eastern part of Pembroke, where it is found in the more exposed soil pockets of the garigue. Grassier locations in the steppe are the principal abode of the largest snail species found in Malta. Amongst these, the Red-Banded Snail (Eobania vermiculata) predominates; aggregations of the Garden Snail (Cantareus aspersus) and some individuals of the Green Snail (Cantareus apertus) have also been encountered in the more humid and shaded microhabitats. These three species are a main food source for rats, as evidenced by their fractured shells being found in considerable numbers outside the rodents’ nests. Indigenous trees and shrubs are uncommon in Pembroke. As such, species usually characteristic of leaf litter are infrequent. However, leaf litter samples from sporadic individuals of Wattle Trees (Acacia saligna) to the southwest of Pembroke yield several examples of a species of Crystal Snail (Vitrea sp.) This species exhibits constant morphological characteristics that are different from those of the other two species of Vitrea in the Maltese Islands, and is as yet undescribed (Giusti et al., 1995). It is a small (<2mm), flat species with a shiny transparent shell. Interestingly, no specimens of this snail were found in the more substantial woodland at the easternmost confines of Pembroke, even though the same tree species is present. On the other hand, some individuals of its slightly larger relative (Vitrea subrimata) were observed at this location.

Some snails do not seem to have any particular preferences for habitat. Such species include the Small Pointed Snail (Cochlicella acuta) and the Decollate Snail (Rumina decollata) both of which were found in soil, leaf litter, beneath rocks and elsewhere. Two species of snails without an external shell were also observed in a variety of habitats; these are the Keeled Slug (Milax nigricans) and the Brown Field Slug (Deroceras panormitanum). The Keeled Slug is recognisable by its dark-grey or black colour and a ridged back, while the Field Slug is smaller with a pink-brownish colour and a fingerprint-like pattern on its back. Terrestrial gastropods are just one of many groups of organisms that make for very interesting biodiversity in Pembroke – as a whole very typical of the Central Mediterranean, yet also unique and worthy of protection and conservation. Acknowledgement The author would like to thank Diane Portelli for assistance in fieldwork and sample processing. References sª

Giusti, F., Manganelli, G. & Schembri, P. J., 1995. The nonmarine molluscs of the Maltese Islands. Monografie Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino, 15: 1-608. Pfenninger, M., Véla, E., Jesse, R., Elejalde, M. A., Liberto, F., Magnin, F. & Martínez-Ortí, A., 2009. Temporal speciation pattern in the western Mediterranean genus Tudorella P. Fischer, 1885 (Gastropoda, Pomatiidae) supports the Tyrrhenian vicariance hypothesis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 54 (2): 427-436.


Sturnell | Starling | Sturnus vulgaris

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The Avifauna of Pembroke Joe Sultana The steppe and garigue vegetation stretching over the rocky terrain at Pembroke, together with small areas of shrubland and isolated pockets of woodland, provide a good habitat to a number of avifauna species

The area has an added dimension to its diversity of birds as it is situated along the northern coast, an excellent area from where to watch seabirds and migrating waterfowl, as well as land birds. Furthermore, the fact that the area has only a maximum altitude of about 50 metres above sealevel and gently slopes towards the seashore, makes it an ideal site for land-based offshore observations.

and widespread species. The Sardinian Warbler is a small short-winged bird with a long tail. The male has a glossy black head with a red eye ring, a pure white throat and rich-grey upperparts. The female is rather brownish and lacks the male’s black hood. This species breeds in low scrub and in bushes, building a neat cup-shaped nest in which the female lays three to five eggs, usually four.

The birds of Malta may be classified into four main sections; the breeding birds, the spring and autumn migrants, the wintering birds, and the vagrants. This is a simple classification, which has very limited scientific value, but is used here for convenience. Some of the breeding species are resident birds and are present in the Pembroke area the whole year. Amongst these one finds the Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), a common

During a breeding birds survey carried out by Birdlife Malta in spring 2008, three other species were confirmed breeding in the Pembroke area. These were the Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), the Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) and the Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis). Another species, the Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla), was present in the area during the breeding period and was possibly breeding.

Çiefa | Scopoli’s Shearwater | Calonectris diomedea


The Collared Dove is a medium-sized pale dove with a distinctive black half collar. It was first recorded breeding in the Maltese Islands in 2003. For the first years it was mainly confined to the gardens of Santa Maria Estate in the north of mainland Malta. Since then it has spread into a few other suitable areas, including the Pembroke area. A small number of birds have been present in the Pembroke/St Andrews area since at least 2005, and about a dozen were present there in spring and summer 2008, when it was confirmed breeding. The population seems to have increased in the last two years to about two dozen birds. Unfortunately, a small number of Barbary Doves, the long-domesticated form of the African Collared Dove have either escaped from captivity or have been released at Pembroke and it is suspected that they may have interbred with the Collared Dove.

polygamous and may have two or three nests at the same time, with females taking over all other duties after the male builds the skeleton of a nest; that is continuing and finishing the building of the nest, laying and incubating eggs, and feeding the young. The Zitting Cisticola is the smallest breeding bird in the Islands. It is a heavily streaked brownish bird, which in spite of its small size, shows aggressiveness in its ways of establishing and controlling its territory. Being abundant and widespread, the charm of the Spanish Sparrow is very often overlooked. The male sports a darkreddish chestnut crown, a black large â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;bibâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, white cheeks, black-streaked flanks and a mixture of black and brown markings on the back and wings. The female lacks the colours of the male and is a rather greyish brown bird. The Spanish Sparrow is mainly sedentary and its choice of habitat is very diverse, being found in towns and villages, and in fact in most types of habitat. Nesting sites are equally diverse, varying from holes in buildings and cliffs to bulky, weaverbird-like nests in trees. Whereas only a handful of species breed in the Pembroke area, the list of wintering visitors is quite impressive. During the winter months, up to about 50 species may be observed in the area, ranging from small wintering passerines, such as the Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros), the Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), and the Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus), to scarce duck species, such as the Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), and some rare seabirds, such as the Great Skua (Stercorarius skua), which may be spotted offshore.


Fjamma Sewda | Black Redstart | Phoenicurus ochruros

The Zitting Cisticola, which has rapidly colonised the islands since the 1970s, is now a regular breeding species at Pembroke, where, as elsewhere, it interweaves its widenecked bottle-shaped nest in grassy tussocks. The male is

Skua Prima | Great Skua | Stercorarius skua

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The list of seabirds logged offshore from Pembroke is quite remarkable. During the months of winter 2009-10 no fewer than nine gull species, as well as the Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) and the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), amongst other seabirds, have figured on bird-watchers’ list of birds observed from the area. The commonest gulls in winter plying offshore are the Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis), the Black-headed

Gawwija Rasha Kannella | Immature Black Headed gull | Croicocephalus ridibundus

Bufula tal-Imrew˙a | Zitting Cisticola | Cisticola juncidis

Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), the Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) and the Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus), while scarce or rare species, such as the Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii), the Slenderbilled Gull (Chroicocephalus genei), the Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and the Common Gull (Larus canus), have also been observed a few times. Scopoli’s Shearwaters are seen offshore during Summer.

coasting the area; raptors are observed flapping to reach land, where they soar higher on the rising warmer air; hirundines, pipits, wagtails, flycatchers and chats, and a wide variety of warblers suddenly appear overnight; and the Hoopoe (Upupa epops), the European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) and the Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) give that added touch of colour to its mosaic of habitats. Nature Trust believes that Pembroke, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), holds great potential as an educational site for the propagation of study and the appreciation of the biodiversity of the Maltese Islands. The avifauna enhances the assets of the area, both in its use for educational purposes and in the enjoyment and protection of nature. References

The annual migration brings about 110 regular migrant species to the Maltese Islands. Pembroke area receives a good share of these species, both during normal migration days as well as during occasional falls of birds brought about by adverse weather conditions. Waders appear along the shores; heron species can be observed in flocks

sª sª

sª sª sª

Sultana,J., Borg, J.J. , Gauci,C. & Falzon, V. 2011. The Breeding Birds of Malta, BirdLife Malta, Malta. 2 Raine, A., Sultana, J. & Gillings, S. 2009. Malta Breeding Bird Atlas 2008. BirdLife Malta, Ministry for Resources & Rural Affairs, B.T.O., Malta. Sultana,J., Borg, J.J. , Gauci,C. & Falzon, V. 2011. Loc. cit. Systematic Lists. Il-Merill 29:30-56; 31:1-34; 32: 55-109 Sultana, J. & Gauci, C. 1982. A New Guide to the Birds of Malta. The Ornithological Society, Malta.


Granรง | Green Crab | Carcinus aestuarii

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The Coastal Biological Assets at Pembroke Alan Deidun

Rocky shores are the most widespread coastal habitat in the Maltese Islands, constituting ca. 90.5% of the 272 km coastline of the islands, as opposed to the 2.4% constituted by ‘soft sediment’ shores (Schembri et al., 2005)

The rocky shore within the Pembroke SAC is typical of gently-sloping (12-15 degrees) Lower Coralline Limestone shores (Cassar et al., 2007), being relatively exposed (mainly to waves from the north-east and northwest) and unpolluted (as evidenced by the relative absence of green algae typical of eutrophic conditions).

Posidonja | Posidonia | Posidoniaoceanica

The vertical zonation scheme most widely used for Mediterranean shorelines is that proposed by Pérès & Picard (1964) who replaced ambiguous terms such as the ‘intertidal’ (also known as the eulittoral or midlittoral

zone) which does not have much bearing in the microtidal Mediterranean. The main ‘zones’ within this scheme are: i.

the supralittoral - a vertical zone which is very rarely immersed in seawater but is under the effect of seamediated factors, such as sea spray. This is often taken to delineate the highest landward extent of the coastal zone. ii. the mediolittoral – a zone which is alternately exposed and immersed by wave action. It corresponds to the mean sea level or the highest level of wave immersion on microtidal Mediterranean shores. iii. the infralittoral – a zone that is permanently immersed and is never exposed by wave action. Its lower extent is that level where normal photosynthesis is no longer possible due to the low light intensity. Some authors, like Jedrzejczak (2002), identify an additional zone, the adlittoral or backshore zone, which extends from the highest landward limit of the supralittoral to the foot of sand dunes, where these are present. Contrary to the situation on sandy shores, where very few, if any, surface biotic features persist, zonation (the


occurrence of living organisms) along a rocky shore is well-defined as a series of zones or “bands’, each characterised by a distinctive suite of fauna and algae. The majority of local Coralline and Globigerina shores are characterized by three zones (Schembri et al., 2005). Vermetid trottoirs, or rims, are bioconstructions formed from the association of any of two species of vermetid snails – (Dendropoma petraeum) (Farrett tax-xatt in Maltese) and Vermetus triquetrus – with the calcareous alga (Neogoniolithon notarisii), within which the vermetid snails become embedded to form 1cm-thick platforms. These platforms are protected under regional and local legislation. The trottoirs are fringed by belts of red algae, mainly Polysiphonia spp. (Ceramium ciliatum) and (Laurencia papillosa). Vermetid trottoirs are fascinating microcosms in that they are considered as indicators of water quality and of palaeobathymetry (i.e. historic sea level).

(Grech & Schembri, 1989) and the frequency of these may act as a limiting factor for the development of the Melarhaphe neritoides population (Raffaelli and Hughes, 1978), as does the microtopography of the shore, which impinges on the zonation of rocky shore biota worldwide (McCarthur & Thomas, 1980). This gastropod, which may also be found in marine rockpools, sheds its larvae in the sea during the autumn and winter seasons, which then colonise the coast once they grow into adults. As a result, its larvae are said to form part of meroplankton.

24 Rizza | Sea Urchin | Paracentrotus lividus

Dudu tas-sajd | Sea-slater | Ligia italica

In addition to vermetids, a cursory look at the mediolittoral and infralittoral zones at Pembroke reveals the presence of the following mollusc species: (Melarhaphe neritoides), (Monodonta turbinata), Patella spp., (Pisania striata), (Lautoconus ventricosus), (Columbella rustica), (Hexaplex trunculus) and (Tarantinaea lignaria) (David P. Cilia, personal communication). M. neritoides, or the black periwinkle (Zib©et il-Blat Sewda in Maltese), has a broad Mediterranean and Atlantic range and is normally encountered in rock crevices and cracks at the high splash mark or in the uppermost extent of the mediolittoral. As a result, its position on a rocky shore is indicative of the degree of exposure to wave action the same shore is subjected to. The degree of exposure of a particular shore is also hinted at by the width of the mediolittoral zone, which at Pembroke is relatively well-developed (wide). Periwinkles preferentially occupy rock crevices and cracks

Also to be encountered within the upper infralittoral are barnacle (koççli in Maltese) species, of which three species occur locally - (Euraphia depressa) - koççla çatta in Maltese, (Chthamalus montagui) and (Chthamalus stellatus) - koççla komuni in Maltese, which minimise inter-specific competition by occupying slightly different vertical zones along the shore. At the tip of the barnacle zone, patellids along with the chiton (Lepidochitona corrugata), are found. Chitons are primitive molluscs which are exclusively marine unlike gastropods and bivalves which have ventured on land and in freshwater and in brackish water. Three patellid, or limpet - m˙ar in Maltese, species occur along local shores - (Patella ulyssiponensis) - m˙ara tal-furan, (Patella caerulea) - m˙ara ka˙la, and (Patella rustica) - m˙ara tassamma in Maltese. Limpets attach themselves to rock at the lower end of the mediolittoral zone, just at the water’s edge, and they etch a depression in the rock surface such that when the limpet is dislodged (by wave action or by

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human collectors (since limpets are edible), a perfect carbon copy of its contours is left behind in the rock surface. Also within the middle and lower mediolittoral is the vagile topshell (M. turbinata) - toothed topshell, or bebbuxu tal-mazza in Maltese, which is found along rocky shores all year round despite the amphibiotic (or extremely variable) conditions one finds along these shores during different seasons, from scorching temperatures in summer to crashing waves in winter. The species is also useful as a biomonitoring tool to help assess the quality of nearshore waters since its tissue accumulates heavy metals without apparent consequences for the same gastropod. Still Óamra Lixxa | Red Starfish | Hacelia attenuata

unpolluted shores, while Flat Bladder-weed (Scientific: Cystoseira compressa; Maltese: Çistosejra tal-Frieg˙i Çatti) occurs in moderately polluted conditions. The upper infralittoral on exposed shores is also characterised by species of (Cystoseira schiffneri v. tenuiramosa). References sª

Koççli | Barnacle Coccli | Chthamalus

The uppermost region of the infralittoral is marked by belts of Cystoseira species, notably (C. compressa), (C. barbata), (C. stricta) and (C. balearica). Cystoseira is a very large (multispecific) genus of tough brown seaweeds adapted to withstand considerable hydrodynamism and which constitute a type of photophilic (light-loving) benthic community. Different species occur in different environmental conditions and in different sub-zones in the same geographical locality. In fact, the genus Cystoseira has a broad ecological valence as cogenerics can be found at depths ranging from the splash zone down to 50-60m. In the central Mediterranean, the protected Rainbow Bladder-weed (Scientific: Cystoseira amentacea; Maltese: Çistosejra Ka˙la) is common on exposed,

Cassar, L.F., Lanfranco, S., Schembri, P.J. (2007). An ecological appraisal of the special area of conservation – candidate site of international importance, in the Pembroke Area, Malta. Report prepared by Ecoserv Ltd for Nature Trust (Malta): 38pp. Grech, M. and Schembri, P.J. (1989). A laboratory study of the behavioural responses of Melarhaphe neritoides (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in relation to its zonation on Maltese shores (Central Mediterranean). Marine Behavioural Physiology, 15, 123-135. Jedrzejcdak, M.F., (2002). Spatio-temporal decay ‘hot spots’ of stranded wrack in a Baltic sandy coastal system, Part I. Comparative study of the pattern: 1 type of wrack vs 3 beach sites. Oceanologia 44 (4): 491-452. McCARTER, N.H., and THOMAS, A.D., 1980. Patterns of animal and plant distribution on rocky shores of the South Hams (South Devon, England). Field Studies, 5, 229-258. Peres J. M., and Picard J. (1964). Nouveau manuel de binomie benthique de la mer Méditerranée. Recueil des Travaux de la Station Marine d’Endoume, 31(47), 5-137. Raffaelli, D.G., and Hughes, R.N. (1978). The effects of crevice size and availability on populations of Littorina rudis and Littorina neritoides. Journal of Animal Ecology, 47, 71-84. Schembri, P.J., Deidun, A.; Mallia, A.; Mercieca, L., 2005. Rocky shore biotic assemblages of the Maltese Islands (List Central Mediterranean): A Conservation Perspective. Journal of Coastal Research 21 (1): 157-166.


Fugass | Fougasse

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Natura 2000 Sites in the Maltese Islands Julie Tabone In attempting to slow down a global species extinction rate which is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural background rate, and with about one species lost every 20 minutes, the European Community devised a network of protected areas in EU countries called Natura 2000 Network aimed at stabilising, and at most reversing, this trend in the EU The EU Nature Directives play a crucial role in this respect. The Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora) sets out the requirement for the protection of European habitats and species (other than birds) of European importance, and requires Member States to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to form part of the Natura 2000 network. The Birds Directive (Council Directive 2009/147/EEC on the Conservation of Wild Birds) sets out the requirement for the protection of threatened European bird species, including migratory birds and their habitats by designating and managing Special Protection Areas (SPAs), sites which also form part of the Natura 2000 network. In total, the Natura 2000 network contains over 25,000 sites (SACs and SPAs combined), covering 17% of EU territory. Natura 2000 status in Malta The Malta Environment & Planning Authority (MEPA) is the lead national agency responsible for nature protection and conservation, including the formulation and implementation of a national strategy aimed at the protection of biodiversity within the targets set by the European Union, as well as the designation, regulation and management of protected areas nationwide, including Natura 2000 sites, forming part of the Natura 2000 network.

The legal requirement for the designation and management of Natura 2000 sites is mainly provided by the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006 as amended), and the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations (Legal Notice 79 of 2006 as amended) published under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 2001 (Chapter 435) and under the Development Planning Act, 1992 (Chapter 356). These regulations largely transpose the obligations of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. On the basis of the criteria established in the relevant legislation, Malta proposed its eligible sites as Natura 2000 sites comprising of SACs under the Habitats Directive and SPAs under the Birds Directive. To date, Malta has designated a total of 32 SACs of International Importance â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 27 terrestrial sites covering over 13% of the land area of the Maltese Islands and five marine sites which have been included in the Natura 2000 network. Malta has also designated 13 terrestrial SPAs covering about 5% of the land area, all of which have also been included in the Natura 2000 network. In six cases, the area of an SPA overlaps entirely with that of an SAC. Summing up the above, Malta has designated a total of 39 terrestrial Natura 2000 sites: 32 terrestrial SACs (including six SPAs) and seven SPAs.


View of Madliena Tower at Pembroke SAC


It is of utmost importance to manage these sites by monitoring, drawing up and implementing management provisions through management plans and/or the enactment of relevant legal provisions, and enforcing the legal requirements for the protection of the habitats and species. Besides designation and management of Natura 2000 sites, it is also important to raise public awareness on Natura 2000 so as to set the background for effective protection and management of these sites. This is in fact also a specific requirement of the EU Habitats Directive. Through a project co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), MEPA is in the process of establishing management plans and/or legislative provisions and implementing communication measures for all Natura 2000 sites in the Maltese Islands. Pembroke Area Natura 2000 site Pembroke Area is designated as a Special Area of Conservation of International Importance (MT0000002) via Government Notice 112 of 2007, as declared through the provisions of the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Regulations of 2006 and forms part of the Natura 2000 network, as listed in the latest Commission Decision 2010/45/EC. The rocky coast, watercourse and karstland surrounding and including the Pembroke rifle ranges are designated as Areas of Ecological Importance / Sites of Scientific Importance under the Development Planning Act, via Government Notice 583 of 1996. Pembroke SAC, with an area of 96.8 hectares, supports six habitat types under Annex I of the Habitats Directive,

Papoççi Óamra | Greater snapdragon | Antirrhinum tortuosum

of which two are priority habitats – EU habitat types 6220 and 3170 – the former habitat type being found throughout the Pembroke area and characterised by an assemblage of grasses (Brachypodium retusum), composites, leguminous plants and bulbous plants. The mosaic of shallow karstic terrain at Pembroke has created a blend of garigue and rocky steppe. The garigue in Pembroke is co-dominated by (Anthyllis hermanniae) and (Thymus capitatus). The latter is an important floristic element of the Maltese Islands, being often a dominant shrub of Maltese garigues, such as those found at Pembroke. Rocky steppe is dominated by (Hyparrhenia hirta) and the Seaside Squill (Urginea pancration) – listed in the National Red Data book, due to its restricted distribution in the Mediterranean being confined to Malta, Sicily, Corsica and Mallorca. This Natura 2000 site also supports a number of endemic species such as the low-lying Maltese Dwarf Garlic (Allium lojaconoi), which is not uncommon on rocky ground, especially not far from the coast. It is present at Pembroke as one of the largest and best populations. Also important is the Maltese

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Fleabane (Chiliadenus bocconei), which is abundant in localised patches. It is the commonest of the Maltese endemics and is quite prevalent in maritime garigues. A very small endangered population of the Thorny Burnet (Sarcopoterium spinosum) is present in Pembroke SAC. It is characteristic of the Eastern Mediterranean Phrygana (Lanfranco, 1989) and may represent a relict community (strictly protected through national legislation, and listed in the National Red Data Book as an endangered species, with a restricted distribution in the Mediterranean and the Maltese Islands), which is unknown in any other locality in Malta. There is evidence that natural regeneration is taking place, although this is quite a slow process. A reinforcement programme was carried out by the Department of Biology (University of Malta), in collaboration with the Plant Micropropagation Centre (within the Plant Health Department), to micropropagate and reinforce the endangered Thorny Burnet in Pembroke, under the financial support of MEPA. Rainwater rockpools that form on the karstland at Pembroke are expected to be important for fauna that are linked to such habitats (for example, fairy shrimps and clam shrimps), though further studies are necessary to assess this. The Maltese Waterwort (Elatine gussonei), an Annex II species of the Habitats Directive, is known in temporary rainwater rockpools at Pembroke. This Pelago-Maltese endemic, being confined to the Maltese Islands and Lampedusa, is listed in the National Red Data Book as rare, with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean. It is also strictly protected through national legislation. References sª

Lanfranco, E. (1989) The Flora. In: Schembri, P.J. and Sultana, J. (Eds). Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands. Department of Information. Pembroke Area – Natura 2000 Standard Data Form

Dubbiena Ka˙la | Mirror Orchid | Ophrys speculum


Brimba Sewda | Maltese Spider Orchid | Ophrys sphegodes ssp. melitensis

Torri tal-Arlo©© | Clock Tower

Site Guide: Clock Tower image pg in front Pembroke history article

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Pembroke History Mario Farrugia The locality, known today as Pembroke derives its name and owes its origin to the British. However, a number of coast defences had already been erected in this locality during the time of the Order of St John. Thus, in the stretch of coastline between St George’s Bay and Ba˙ar iç-Çag˙aq, one can find a tower (St George’s) built by Grand Master Lascaris( 1637-1649) and subsequently another one (Madliena) built by Grand Master de Redin between 1657 and 1660. By the 1850s musket ranges had been a tented camp which had already been established by the British military authorities. In 1859, Sidney Herbert, Secretary at War, sanctioned the building a stone encampment capable of accommodating 1,000 men. This was to be called Pembroke Camp in honour of the Secretary at War who was the 12th Earl of Pembroke. The site was chosen because it was considered to be one of the healthiest spots in the island. The following year Spinola Palace was converted into a hospital, named Forrest Hospital, to serve Pembroke Camp. In 1860 the Guard Room and barrack blocks were inaugurated and named St George’s Barracks. Later,

on 6th June 1862 Edward, Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone of the Soldiers Institute and Library within the same barracks. Between 1875 and 1878, Fort Pembroke was built to defend the approaches to the Grand Harbour. The fort was armed with three 11-inch Rifled Muzzle Loading guns and one 64-pdr gun. The guns at the fort needed to be updated but the military decided it would be cheaper to build a new battery. In 1897, a new battery, named Pembroke Battery, was built and equipped with 9.2-inch Breach-Loading guns. On 24 June 1901, the foundation stone of St Andrew’s Barracks was laid by the Governor of Malta, Sir Francis Grenfell. The Guard Room and the clock tower were built in 1903, and in 1908 an army school for soldiers’ children was opened. In the same year an examination battery was constructed in the vicinity of Madliena tower. This battery was armed with two 12-pounder Quick Firing (QF) guns. During the First World War, when thousands of wounded

Batterija ta’ Pembroke | Pembroke Battery (1899)

Sala tal-Awstralja | Australia Hall


During the Second World War, part of the barracks was converted into 45th General Hospital which was manned by the Royal Army Medical Corps. A detention area for enemy prisoners-of- war was also established within the camp at Pembroke. By 1945 the number of prisoners amounted to 2,500. As a number of them were Roman Catholics they built a small chapel which was formally blessed in May 1946 by the Archbishop of Malta, Michael Gonzi. The prisoner-of-war camp was closed in 1948. It-Torri tal-Madliena | Madliena Tower (1658)


and sick soldiers from Gallipoli and Salonika were brought to Malta, Pembroke became the site of a number of hospitals and convalescent camps. These consisted mostly of hutted or tented camps. Many of the wounded soldiers there were ANZACs and this prompted the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross to collect funds for the building of an entertainment hall. Aptly named Australia Hall, it could accommodate 2000 men. Later in 1921 this hall served to house the first branch of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (NAAFI) in Malta, and also doubled as a cinema. In the 1930s the degenerating international situation led to the expansion of the British garrison on the Island. New barracks were constructed at Pembroke and named St Patrick’s Barracks.

After the war, small blocks of other ranks’ married quarters were built at St Patrick’s Barrack’s and an Officers’ Mess and recreational complex was built on the rocky foreshore in 1948. The last housing units to be constructed by the British at Pembroke were officers’ married quarters in the 1960s. These are today referred to as the White Rocks. The rifle ranges remained in use, and some of them remain in use to this very day. The artillery ranges were last used in 1959. The parts of the barracks were ceded to the Maltese Government in the early 1970s when they were vacated by the military. The British military facilities in Pembroke closed down in 1978 and the property devolved to the Maltese Government.

Il-Fortizza ta’ Pembroke | The Fortress Of Pembroke (1879)

Visitors’ Site Guide

BIO NOTE ON AUTHORS Glorianne Borg Axisa is Geography and History Subject Coordinator at the University of Malta Junior College and lectures in Geography at the University of Malta Junior College and at the Faculty of Education, University of Malta. Her research interests include Landscape Ecology, Human Geography and Intercultural Education. She has published a number of papers in various publications. Jeffrey Sciberras is a local botanist, and holds a degree in Agro-ecosystems Management of the Mediterranean Basin from the University of Malta. His main interest in nature is the ecology of small islands, especially those of the Mediterranean, as well as their geology and topography. His professional position is Environmental Educator and Environmental Surveyor, working especially on behalf of Nature Trust Malta and other environmental entities. He has also contributed to a number of articles in newspapers and books regarding flora and fauna, and has co-authored several peer-reviewed scientific papers on aspects of local flora and fauna in the natural history journal ‘The Central Mediterranean Naturalist’. Arnold Sciberras is a naturalist with a special interest in Herpetology and Entomology, and holds a diploma in Agri-business Studies. His main interest in nature is the ecology and evolution of small Mediterranean islands and islets. He has also contributed to a number of conservation projects. Additionally, he has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers, articles and other communications in newspapers, magazines, journals and books regarding fauna and flora, with special focus on the Maltese islands. Luca Pisani is a local enthusiast on Maltese natural history. He is studying at the Earth Systems Institute at the University of Malta. He is a keen wildlife photographer, is interested in the botany, zoology and geology of the Maltese Islands, and hopes to study further in these fields. Joe Sultana is an ornithologist consultant to the COE European Diploma and to MAP’s RACSPA. He was formerly Principal Environment Officer, Planning Authority Board Member, Secretary and President of MOS/BirdLife Malta, Council Member of BirdLife International, Chairman of Naturopa Centre, and Chairman of the Ornis Committee. He has authored several ornithological and nature publications, and has been awarded for outstanding service to ornithology and bird conservation, including the Gouden Lepelaar by Vogelbescherming (Netherlands) , RSPB Medal, Honorary Member of British Ornithologists Union, and Membership of Honour by BirdLife International. Alan Deidun holds a PhD in Coastal Ecology, having conducted his research on the ecology of Central Mediterranean sandy beaches. He has co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers on aspects of coastal and marine biology. Besides sandy beach ecology, his research interests also include benthic ecology, ecological modelling, management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), remote assessment of water quality, dynamics of jellyfish outbreaks, and diversity of marine alien species. He is currently Senior Lecturer at the IOI-Malta Operational Centre of the University of Malta, where he acts as Project Manager on a number of European-funded projects. He was the editor of the peer-reviewed natural history journal ‘The Central Mediterranean Naturalist’, has written numerous book chapters, as well as over 300 natural history and environmental newspaper articles. He has acted as marine ecology consultant on numerous local Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Appropriate Assessments (AAs).


Julie Tabone is a Senior Officer within the Protected Areas Team of the Ecosystems Management Unit. The Ecosystems Management Unit within the Environment Protection Directorate (EPD) of MEPA is responsible for nature protection and conservation, including the formulation and implementation of a national strategy aimed at the protection of biodiversity within the targets set by the European Union, as well as the designation and coordination of the management of protected areas nationwide, including Natura 2000 sites, forming part of the Natura 2000 network. David P. Cilia B. Ed. (Hons) (Melit.) is a Biology and Science educator at St Paul’s Missionary College, Rabat, Malta. His scientific research and publications deal with the biology, systematics and taxonomy of Mediterranean and South-East Asian terrestrial gastropods. Mario Farrugia was born in 1967. Went on to found Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna in 1987 as an independent voluntary organisation focussed on the preservation and management of Malta’s Cultural Heritage. He has experimented and pioneered a number of new ways of better interpreting heritage sites including the introduction of living history and the use of historical re-enactments. Has been instrumental in creating a wider awareness about the importance of Malta’s recent heritage particularly that from the British period. Established four museums at Fort Rinella, Kalkara, the Malta at War Museum, Vittoriosa, the Saluting Battery in Valletta and the Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta. Studies and researches Maltese naval and military history. Has published in local and foreign sources. Appointed member of the British Commission for Military History on account of his contribution towards the better understanding and preservation of British military heritage in Malta.


MALTA TOURISM AUTHORITY The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), in collaboration with the Ministry for Tourism is continuously involved in projects whose objective is to improve the tourism product. The Pembroke Garigue Heritage Project forms part of a wider set of ERDF-funded projects, the value of which exceeds 21 million euros. This project consist in the Development of a National Aquarium in Qawra, the upgrading of St. Paul’s Bay Promenade and the development of Pembroke Gardens. The project itself involved the accessibilty of this area by introducing a walking / cycling trail across a larger part of the Natura 2000 site that is about 2.5kms in length. Furthermore, MTA restored the military footbridge, shelter room and Madliena Tower. These trails were laid across existing patrol foothpaths formerly used in the British Military. MTA’s main aim is to ensure sustainable tourism by highlighting the rich biodiversity and heritage that this Natura 2000 site can offer. In collaboration with several stakeholders including several NGO’s, MTA is also actively working towards the management of this site.

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Pembroke Heritage Project - Visitors' Site Guide  

The natural site of Pembroke occupies roughly half the size of the entire area of Pembroke.