The Isle of Man is not just a great place for birds, there is a wide variety of other wildlife of interest to both the casual observer and to specialists.
A good range of species have been recorded on the Isle of Man. The list includes:
- Large White
- Small White
- Green-veined White
- Clouded Yellow
- Small Cooper
- Common Blue
- Holly Blue
- Red Admiral
- Painted Lady
- Small Tortoiseshell
- Dark Green Fritillary
- Speckled Wood
- The Wall
- Meadow Brown
- Small Heath
Manx Butterfly Conservation is a charity established in 2010 to co-ordinate efforts to record and conserve butterflies on the Isle of Man. It is a partner of Butterfly Conservation Europe. Garry Curtis is the contact for Manx Butterfly Conservation, which is planning to launch its website shortly.
In recent years considerable efforts have been made to determine the numbers of whales, porpoises and dolphins in the Irish Sea. See the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch website which gives details of what has been seen recently and how to report new sightings. Species seen include:
- Common Dolphin
- Bottlenose Dolphin
- Risso’s Dolphin
- Harbour Porpoise
- Minke Whale
- Killer Whale
The most frequently sighted are Harbour Porpoise, Risso’s Dolphin and Minke Whale.
A skeleton of a Sei Whale is on display at the Manx Museum in Douglas.
The Manx Bat Group has recorded eight species of bat on the Isle of Man (compared to 17 species in the United Kingdom):
- Brown long-eared bat
- Soprano pipistrelle
- Natterer’s bat
- Daubenton’s bat
- Whiskered bat
- Leisler’s bat
- Common long-eared bat
The Manx Bat Group brings together volunteers from across the Isle of Man interested in the conservation of Manx bats. It is a registered charity and is affiliated to the Bat Conservation Trust. Visit the Manx Bat Group website for more details about bats on the Isle of Man, how to help them and also how to send in details of any sightings.
There are no foxes, badgers or deer on the Isle of Man, but you will find:
- Pygmy Shrew
- Brown Hare
- Mountain Hare
- Short-tailed Vole (thought not to be found in the wild on the Island; only recorded in skeletal remains in owl pellets).
- Wood Mouse
- Brown Rat
- Common Seal (less common than the Grey Seal)
- Grey Seal (the most common seal around the Isle of Man)
- Feral Goat
- Red-necked Wallaby (in the Ballaugh Curraghs)
(Based on the list in ‘Birds of the Isle of Man’, JP Cullen and PP Jennings, 1986).
Every year considerable numbers of Basking Sharks can be seen in Manx waters. Though called a shark, it is in fact a plankton eating large fish. Typically they occur in the sea off the Isle of Man in the summer, as they migrate south through the Irish Sea.
The Manx Basking Shark Project is run by Manx Wildlife Trust. The project’s website gives details of recent sightings, photographs and videos.
Though you may be lucky to see a Basking Shark anywhere around the Manx coast, good places to look out for them are Niarbyl, from Peel Hill and the Sound.
All things ‘Manx’
The animals or plants named after the Isle of Man is short but diverse!
Manx Shearwater - named after first being recorded on the Calf of Man. They nest in burrows, with the adults feeding far out to sea. At the end of the breeding season they head off to the South Atlantic, off the coast of Brazil, before returning to north-west Europe for the following spring. After efforts to control the rat population on the Calf of Man, Manx Shearwaters are breeding on the Calf of Man once again, though in much lower numbers than before rats reached the island.
Manx Cat - the famous tail-less variety of domestic cat. Some have a short tail and are known as ‘stumpies’.
Manx Loaghtan – a hardy, ancient, breed of sheep with a brown fleece. The rams can have 4 or 6 horns. The name is thought to derive from the Manx words lugh dhoan (‘mouse-brown’) and describes the colour of the sheep.
Manx Robber Fly (Machimus cowini) – robber flies stab their insect prey with their proboscis, injecting them with their saliva which paralyses and then digests the insides of their victims. The Manx Robber Fly was first discovered in the 1940s, in the Isle of Man. It has been subsequently also found on the east coast of Ireland. The name in Manx is quaillag roosteyr Manninagh.
Isle of Man Cabbage (Coincya monensis subsp. monensis) is a species of Brassicaceae or cabbage plant that is found in coastal habitats on the west of the island of Great Britain (from north Devon to Kintyre) and around the coasts of the Isle of Man. The name in Manx is caayl Vannin.
If you know of any other animals or plants with a name linked to the Isle of Man, do let us know.