Relative to their size, the Maltese Islands harbour a very high diversity of plants and animals, and almost 4500 floral and faunal species (excluding marine species) have been recorded. Among these, 85 species are endemic.

The most abundant among the endemic Maltese fauna is the Maltese wall lizard (Podarcis filfolensis), which actually occurs as five distinct subspecies, all of which are endemic to specific islands of the archipelago.

Other endemic fauna include 12 species of beetles, 17 species of butterflies and moths, 5 species of flies, 2 species of ants, 1 species of grasshoppers, 7 species of molluscs (including the marine snail Gibbula nivosa which is so-called because of the hallmark snow-like white patches it bears on its shell) and the Maltese freshwater crab (Potamon fluviatile ssp. lanfrancoi). A subspecies of the Sicilian shrew (Crocidura sicula ssp. calypso) is the only endemic mammal and, interestingly, is only found in Gozo.