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The freshwater ponds of Erjos in Tenerife

Updated on November 21, 2012

Freshwater ponds are rare on Tenerife

The volcanic island of Tenerife has very few natural sources of freshwater and its streams usually run dry in the hot weather. Wildlife that depend on water have to make do with reservoirs, irrigation tanks and ponds in gardens and parks.

However, the village of Erjos, in the fertile and green Teno area of Tenerife's northwest, has a number of large ponds and several smaller ones, and they provide a wetland habitat for water birds and many other animals and plants.

Erjos photos

Erjos `pond
Erjos `pond
Walkers in Erjos
Walkers in Erjos
Oil Beetle
Oil Beetle
Canary Island Sowthistle
Canary Island Sowthistle
View over a pond in Erjos
View over a pond in Erjos

A haven for wildlife

Erjos is situated above Santiago del Teide in the northwest of Tenerife and its other closest neighbours are the villages of San José de los Llanos and Ruigomez. The part where the ponds are is known as Puerto de Erjos and it makes a real haven for wildlife as well as place that is very popular with ramblers. There are several footpaths that go up through the surrounding mountains and forests.

The ponds formed naturally many years ago when the soil was dug out for use elsewhere on the island. The pits left behind soon filled up and became colonised over the years by water plants such as reeds and birds including Coots (Fulica atra) and Moorhens (Gallinula chloropus).

The Erjos ponds now support colonies of both species of frog found on Tenerife - the Iberian Water Frog (Rana perezii ) and the Stripeless Treefrog (Hyla meriodonalis). Several types of dragonflies breed there and many other aquatic insects including Great Diving Beetles (Cybister tripunctatus), Whirligig Beetles (Gyrinus deajanii) and Water Boatmen (Corixa affinis) live in the pools.

On the land the Oil Beetle (Meloe tuccius) can be found in spring. Its large females often crawl about on paths and short grass and their larvae are parasites of bees.

Buzzards (Buteo buteo) and Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) often patrol the skies overhead on the lookout for lizards and mice. Herons (Ardea cinerea) hunt around the ponds on the lookout for frogs.

Until the autumn of 2008, there were millions of Mosquito Fish (Gambusia holbrooki) in the ponds but there was a severe drought that year and all the water dried up. The area also was devastated by a forest fire that had caused vast amounts of damage and destruction on the island. In Erjos the ponds were, of course, safe but the vegetation was mostly burned up in the blaze.

Remarkably, apart from blackened and charred remains of bushes and a few dead trees, the whole are has regenerated and is covered in lush greenery and many species of wild flower. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Canary Island St John's Wort (Hypericum canariensis) are two medicinal herbs that grow in the area. The pretty yellow flowers of Canary Island Sowthistles (Sonchus acaulis and S. canariensis) help beautify the grassland in spring.

Many fungi and wild mushrooms grow in the countryside around Erjos including white Puffballs (Lycoperdon) that are easy to spot amongst the short green grass.

Anyone, who loves nature and exploring the countryside will find plenty to delight them around the ponds of Erjos.

The village and its ponds are on the bus route from Playa de las Américas to Icod de los Vinos and for the service between Los Gigantes and Puerto de la Cruz, so it is easy enough to get to by public transport.

There is the very popular Restaurante Fleytas with a large carpark right opposite where the ponds are located, and besides locals and knowledgeable and adventurous tourists, many of the island's motorbike enthusiasts gather there.

Being in the mountains of the north of Tenerife though, Erjos is often shrouded in the misty cloud known as "bruma," and the temperature drops a lot when this happens. Because of this it is advisable to bring a jacket or a jumper if visiting the area.

But don't let the risk of clouds put you off. Erjos is truly one of the semi-secret jewels of Tenerife.

Home Videos Channels Watch this video in a new window "Las charcas de Erjos" 12-04-2009 (Tenerife)


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    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales



    • Tenerife Islander profile image

      Steve Andrews 7 years ago from Tenerife

      Thank you, Sage! I must point out that the video I found on YouTube so can't take credit for that!

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 7 years ago

      Take me away to the freshwater ponds of Erjos at Tenerife Island. What a beautiful sanctuary. One could really get lost in their thoughts hear. This was an amazing hub, I absolutely loved your video.