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Socotra Island Is “The Most Alien Looking Place On Earth”, Here’s Why

According to UNESCO, Socotra has global significance due to its biodiversity, which includes a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Socotra is a group of small islands of the Republic of Yemen. Many have labelled these islands as “alien” and the land of mystery. The interior is a barren mountainous landscape with plateaus at various altitudes and unique and sparse shrubbery and is home to roughly 60,000 people, as per AZ Animals.

According to UNESCO, the site is of global significance due to its biodiversity, which includes a diverse range of flora and fauna. It said that 37 per cent of Socotra’s 825 plant species, 90 per cent of its reptile species, and 95 per cent of its land snail species are unique to the island. The place deals with extreme heat and heavy floods. The flora and fauna are adapted to the weather and these factors, combined with the isolation, resulted in evolutionary oddities.

Socotra evolved on its own over 25 million years ago, while the rest of the planet was still partially conjoined. On one island, there are limestone plateaus, arid mountains, and coastal plains, as per AZ Animals. The seeds, birds, and insects that blew in with the winds populated this island. These things evolved into the alien plants and animals without any outside influence.

Isolation has resulted in some strange-looking life and geology on Socotra, which is set against an arid backdrop. At least 192 bird species are present on the island out of which 44 breed on it while 85 are regular migrants, including a number of threatened species. Socotra’s marine life is also diverse, with 253 reef-building coral species, 730 coastal fish species, and 300 crab, lobster, and shrimp species.

The Socotra warbler, Socotra bunting, ghost crab, Socotra limestone crab, Socotra cormorant, Socotra sunbird, Egyptian vulture, and loggerhead turtle are among the rare animals found here. Socotra pomegranates, frankincense, various aloes, giant succulent trees, dragon’s blood trees, cucumber trees, and myrrh trees are some popular plants on the island, as per AZ Animals. 

The dragon’s blood tree, an umbrella-like tree that spreads across the landscape, is quite a famous site on the island and plays a huge part in giving the island an alien appearance. The tree is the source of a red resin that is used in traditional medicines and dyes. The tree is endemic and some of the species date back 300 years.

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