Cyprus is characterised by its rich and diverse fauna, which includes, among others, 36 species of mammals, 380 bird species, 22 reptile species, 3 amphibian species, 200 fish species and more than 5000 insect species.
Regarding the 36 mammal species that have been recorded in Cyprus, 19 of these are bats, 12 are terrestrial mammals, 4 are dolphins and one is a seal. The largest mammal is the endemic mouflon (Ovis orientalis ophion) [a wild sheep species].
Cyprus is located in one of the eight most important bird migratory routes, extending from Europe to Africa and vice versa. It is also considered as an important area for avifauna in Europe, having high levels of diversity and endemism. So far, the number of bird species recorded in Cyprus is 380. Out of these, more than 50 species are permanent residents of the island.
There are also 22 reptile species living in Cyprus, of which 8 are snakes (one endemic species and two endemic subspecies), 11 are lizards and 3 are turtles (2 sea turtles and 1 freshwater turtle). Three of the snakes found in Cyprus are poisonous, but only one can be harmful to man (Macrovipera lebetina). Three frog species are included in the amphibians.
According to Fauna Europaea, the number of representatives of the insect fauna known to occur in Cyprus is approximately 5000. The Virtual Biodiversity Museum of Cyprus provides access to a photo album of 50 selected invertebrates. One of the most important group of insects, are butterflies, which belong to the order Lepidoptera. There are 52 species in Cyprus, 9 of which are endemic butterflies.