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Corales de Icacos

Biodiversidad Terrestre

According to the 1990 Technical Supplement (DRNA), the flora of the keys that make up the Reserve is estimated at 140 vascular species. Most of the vegetation in these keys does not reach considerable height due to the low levels of precipitation and the shallow soils that do not allow plant roots to develop.

The floristic associations observed in the keys of the Reserve and described in the DNER Technical Supplement for the same are the following:

1.) Rocky Plate: Irregular vegetation and scattered growth of woody and herbaceous plants less than 2 meters in height. It receives a lot of saline aerosol because it grows on the periphery of the keys on beach rock.

-Beach carnation (Borrichia arborescens)

-Flax (Strumfia maritima)

-Sea grape

-Barbasco (Jacquinia arborea)

-Lechecillo (Chamaesyce articulata)

This association is located in Cayo Icacos and Cayo Diablo

2.) Coastal evergreen grove: It develops along the coasts outside the limit of maximum wave flooding, in beach sand of relative depth and aeration. It consists of trees and shrubs up to about 5 meters high, influenced by the wind and subject to salt deposition.

-Sea grape


3.) Dry evergreen scrub: It is made up of two main strata- the upper one, open in nature and no higher than 9 meters, and the lower one, which is predominantly closed with much greater coverage. Several thorny species exist in this association:

- Escambron (Randia aculeata)

-Cat spider (Sideroxylon obovatum)

Among tree species, the

-Cork (Icus a albida)

-Almácigo (Bursera simaruba)

-Mirror (Krugiodendrom ferreum)

This covers most of the central area of Cayo Icacos.

4.) Mangrove - In several of the keys, ephemeral lagoons are observed that contain lime mud, limestone carbonate sand and sea salts deposited by the wind, creating a hydric, saline, seasonally flooded substrate.

- Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)

-White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa)

-Button mangrove (Conocarpus erectus)

The mangrove areas of Cayo Icacos were almost completely destroyed due to the impact of Hurricane Hugo.

5.) Sandy beach:  Gramineas, cyperaceae, vines and herbaceous plants grow in this area. Among those documented in the keys are:

-Beach bean (Canavalia maritima)

-Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum)

-Beach vine (Ipomoea Pescaprae)

On the southern and northern coast of Cayo Icacos there is a sandy beach as well as southwest of Cayo Diablo.


The keys of the Cordillera are home to a great diversity of birds, particularly the most inaccessible rocky islets. They are nurseries and habitats for the palometa (Sterna dougalli), the cervera (Anous stolidus), the nun's gull (Sterna anaethetus), the dusky gull (Sterna fuscata), the brown loggerhead (Sula kuigaster) and the Galician gull (Larus atricilla).

The Red-jawed Duck (Anas bahamensis) has been documented in the lagoons of Icacos.


Several reptiles have been reported in the keys of the Reserve:

- Common lizard (Anolis cristatellus)

-Weed lizard (Anolis pulchellus)

-Wooden hen (Iguana iguana)

In Cayo Icacos, two specimens of a small geconid measuring around 2mm (Sphaerodactylus nicholsi) have been documented.

An individual of the snake Alsophis portoricensis was sighted in Ratones Key by Peter Tolson.

*Taken from the DNER Technical Supplement 1990


Cardumen de Roncos en los Jardines de Coral cuerno de ciervo (Acropora cervicornis) de Icacos (Foto por Montañez-Acuña)

Pólipos del Coral Estrella (Monstranstrea cavernosa) (Foto por Montañez-Acuña)

Estrella de mar en praderas de hierbas marinas (Foto por Otaño)

Praderas de hierbas marinas saludables - Thalassia y Siringodium (Foto por Montañez- Acuña)

Coral Pilar en el Arrecife de parcho de Cayo Icacos (Foto por Montañez-Acuña)

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