Tag Archives: Malta

Tyto melitensis (Lydekker)

Maltese Barn Owl (Tyto melitensis 

The Maltese Barn Owl was described in 1891, it is known from a single bone, a fragmentary femur, which was recovered from a unspecified cave somewhere on the island of Malta.

The fragment was dated to the latest Pleistocene, however, the species (if it indeed was one at all) might well have survived into the early Holocene.


Some authors do not accept this form as a distinct species and consider it either as being identical to the Common Barn Owl (Tyto alba (Scopoli) or as having been a subspecies of it. 


edited: 08.09.2019

Columba melitensis Lydekker

Malta Pigeon (Columba melitensis)

The Malta Pigeon was described in 1891, it is known exclusively from fossil bones that were excavated from depostits in the Ghar Dalam Cave (and probably other caves) on the island of Malta.

The species was obviously somewhat similar to the extant Rock Dove (Columba livia Gmelin), but apparently slightly smaller.

The bones can be dated to an age of about 10000 years, making this species a case of a Pleistocene/Holocene borderline extinction. 


edited: 13.01.2019

Microtus melitensis (Bate)

Maltese Vole (Microtus melitensis)

The Maltese Vole was described in 1920 based on remains that had been excavated in the Ghar Dalam Cave in southwestern Malta, from deposits that have been dated to an age of about 18000 BCE, which means that this is actually a Pleistocene species.

The author of the species compared it with the Tyrrhenian Vole (Microtus henseli (F. Major)), another extinct Mediterranean vole species, from which the Maltese species is said to have differed by its smaller size. [1]


The Maltese Vole is often thought to have survived into the Holocene era, as have other closely related forms from other Mediterranean islands, it is thus mentioned here as well.



[1] Dorothea M. A. Bate: Note on a new vole and other remains from the Ghar Dalam Cavern, Malta. Geological Magazine 57(5): 208-211. 1920


edited: 04.05.2019