Ilhéus das Formigas
Ilhéus das Formigas Nature Reserve is located about 33 nautical miles off the southeast end of São Miguel and about 20 nautical miles off the north-eastern end of Santa Maria, and is a natural resource of considerable importance and a real nursery for many marine species, with a total length of 52 393 hectares.
The Ilhéus das Formigas (islets) are formed by basaltic flows interrupted by calcareous veins that contain fossils of marine invertebrates that date back possibly to the Miocene. In this bank are sponges and coral banks and various species such as Bodianus scrofa (peixe-cão), the Epinephelus marginatus (mero) and the Coris julis (peixe-rei). It can also be seen species that pass by the islets in their migration, such as the Caretta (tartaruga-boba), the Sphyrna zygaena (tubarão-martelo) and the Rhincodon typus (tubarão-baleia). The importance of this marine area led to the classification of these islets as Ramsar Site under the Ramsar Convention.