Juan de Nova Island

The International Space Station’s Expedition 25 commander Douglas H. Wheelock tweets an amazing image of the Juan de Nova Island between Mozambique and Madagascar. Most clearly resembling a smoking hat or a jellyfish island, this image is actually upside down.

via spacegizmo via nasa


Juan de Nova IslandJuan de Nova Island

Juan de Nova Island (also Saint-Christophe, French: locally Île Juan de Nova or officially Île Juan da Nova) is a 4.4 km² low, flat, tropical island in the narrowest part of the Mozambique Channel, about one-third of the way between Madagascar and Mozambique.

Anchorage is possible off the northeast of the island which also has a 1,300-metre-long airstrip. Administratively, the island is one of the Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean, a district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

Juan de Nova, about six kilometres long and 1.6 km at its widest, is a nature reserve surrounded by reefs which enclose an area (not a true lagoon like in an atoll) of roughly 40 km². Forests, mainly of Casuarinaceae, cover about half the island. Large numbers of terns (Sterna fuscata) breed there from November to March. Turtles nest in the beaches around the island.

Madagascar and its neighboring island groups have an astounding total of eight plant families, four bird families, and five primate families that live nowhere else on Earth. Madagascar’s more than 50 lemur species are the island’s charismatic worldwide ambassadors for conservation, although, tragically, 15 more species have been driven to extinction since humans arrived.

The Seychelles, Comoros and Mascarene islands in the Indian Ocean between them support a number of Critically Endangered bird species. The Seychelles are also home to the only endemic family of amphibians: the Sooglossidae, and the Aldabra giant tortoise, one of the regions most heralded endemic reptiles.