Mascarene Islands

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Foetidia mauritiana

The Mascarene Islands, (French: Mascareignes) or Mascarenes, is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.[1]

They include Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues. Their name comes from the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, who first visited them in April 1512.

The islands were formed by the volcanism of the Réunion hotspot beneath the Mascarene Plateau. They are a distinct ecoregion with a unique flora and fauna.

Extinct animals include the dodo (a flightless pigeon), and the Rodgrigues solitaire. The islands also had giant tortoises, and still has some endemic birds and reptiles.[2]

Before the ships found the islands, the islands had no humans. Now they have many people, and the original ecology of the islands is being destroyed.

The Mascarene Islands are a French overseas department. Mauritius styles itself the Republic of Mauritius, and is self-governed.

This ecoregion covers the three main islands, Réunion, Mauritius, and Rodrigues, and a number of smaller islets of the Mascarene Islands. The largest islands are the French Dependent Territory of Réunion (2,500 km2), and the island of Mauritius (1,900 km2), which together with Rodrigues (110 km2) forms the single independent nation of Mauritius. The nearest landmass is Madagascar, 680 km northwest of Réunion.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Cheke, A. S. (1987). Diamond, Anthony William (ed.). An ecological history of the Mascarene Islands, with particular reference to extinctions and introductions of land vertebrates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 5–89. ISBN 978-0-521-11331-1.
  2. "Islands of Réunion and Mauritius, east of Madagascar | Ecoregions | WWF". World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  3. "Mascarene Islands". Maritime Logistics Professional. 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2021-11-18.