The Islas San Benito
lie in the Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...
off the west coast of the Mexican state of Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...
, 25 km west of Cedros Island
Cedros Island is a Mexican island in the Pacific Ocean....
. They are part of the Cedros Island delegación
, a subdivision of Ensenada (municipality)
The municipality of Ensenada, with a land area of , takes up the majority of the state of Baja California. It is the largest in Mexico by area and the Americas. It contains all of Baja California apart from a strip at the north and, at the northeast extremity of the state, the municipality of...
, Baja California
The Mexican state of Baja California is divided into five municipalities :Each municipality is subdivided into boroughs....
The group consists of three barren islands, with a total area of 3.899 km², and is surrounded by rocks and patches of kelp. The census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...
of 2001 recorded a population of two on Benito del Oeste
(West Benito); the other islands are uninhabited.
Geography and ecology
Benito del Oeste
(West Benito, 2.6 km²) is the westernmost and largest island of the group. It appears as a plateau with a mound rising 600 ft (202 m) high near the center. A lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....
tower, 4 m high, stands in the southern part of the island. The main lighthouse, a prominent, 17 m high tower with a dwelling, stands near the northwest extremity of the island. Rocas Pinaculo, two steep-to rocks, lie 1.6 km west of Benito del Oeste.
Benito del Centro
(Central Benito, 0.4 km²) 28°18′30"N 115°33′54"W and Benito del Este
(East Benito, 0.9 km²) 28°18′03"N 115°32′25"W, the other two islands, lie close east of Benito del Oeste and are separated by Canal de Peck
, a deep passage just 200 ft (c.65 m) wide. Benito del Este is characterized by four well-defined hills up to 421 ft (c.140 m) high. Benito del Centro is low and flat with a hill 82 ft (25 m) high rising near its eastern end.
The vegetation consists mainly of low shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...
s and herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...
s as well as some large cacti
-See also:* RRDtool The underlying software upon which Cacti is built* MRTG The original Multi Router Traffic Grapher from which RRDtool was "extracted".* Munin -External links:******...
Cylindropuntia prolifera, known by the common name Coastal cholla, is a species of cactus.-Description:Cylindropuntia prolifera is a mostly erect, treelike cactus which can approach 3 meters in maximum height. The gray-green segments are narrow and cylindrical, surfaced in fleshy tubercles bearing...
, C. ramosissima
Cylindropuntia ramosissima is a species of cactus known by the common names diamond cholla and branched pencil cholla.-Distribution:...
). There are few land animals and no native mammals. Bird are moderately abundant due to the islands' barrenness, but Cassin's Auklet
The Cassin’s Auklet is a small, chunky seabird that ranges widely in the North Pacific. It nests in small burrows and because of its presence on well studied islands in British Columbia and off California it is one of the better known auks...
is rather plentiful at breeding time.
Due to the islands' remoteness, several endemic taxa have evolve
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...
- San Benito Side-blotched Lizard, Uta stansburiana stellata
- San Benito House Finch
The House Finch is a bird in the finch family Fringillidae, which is found in North America. This species and the other "American rosefinches" are usually placed in the rosefinch genus Carpodacus...
, Carpodacus mexicanus mcgregori - extinct
- Disappeared around the c.1940s, mainly due to overhunting by biological specimen collectors.
- San Benito Sparrow, Passerculus rostratus sanctorum (or Passerculus sandwichensis sanctorum)
- Cryptantha patula - only on West Benito
- Dudleya linearis - only on West Benito
- Hemizonia streetsii - West and East Benito
- Lavatera venosa - all islands
- Mammillaria neopalmeri - West and East Benito
- Senecio benedictus - only on West Benito