stands apart in the distinctiveness of its biota. Not only
it have more endemic species than any other nation for such groups as
reptiles and marine fish, but it far exceeds anyplace else at higher
taxonomic levels such as unique genera and families. Australia
even has two vertebrate orders found nowhere else: the marsupial moles (EDGE)
and the Australian Lungfish (Australian
A remarkable number of plant families are confined to Australia including the following: Anarthriaceae (FloraBase), Aphanopetalaceae (FloraBase), Boryaceae (FloraBase), Austrobaileyaceae (UConn), Blandfordiaceae (Pacific Bulb Society), Cephalotaceae (ARKive), Dasypogonaceae (FloraBase), Doryanthaceae (PlantNET), Ecdeiocoleaceae (FloraBase), Emblingiaceae (FloraBase), Gyrostemonaceae (FloraBase), Macarthuriaceae (FloraBase), Petermanniaceae (flickr), and Xanthorrhoeaceae (Kew). Other striking plants unique to Australia include two of the world's tallest trees, the Mountain Ash (Wikipedia) and the Karri (ANPSA), the recently discovered Wollemi Pine (Global Trees Campaign), the world's tallest cycad Lepidozyma hopei (PACSOA), the Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (ALA), the Scarlet Banksia (FloraBase), and Grevillea (ANPSA).
Australia has some notably enormous endemic invertebrates including the Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Museum Victoria), the Tasmanian Giant Crab (NMDC), the Giant Tasmanian Crayfish (Crayfish World), the Giant Burrowing Cockroach (ALA), the Titan Stick Insect (Brisbane Insects), and the Giant Australian Cuttlefish (ARKive). The Dinosaur Ant Nothomyrmecia macrops is famous as a living fossil (AntWiki). The invertebrates also have many families unique to Australia including the Cooloola Monster (ALA), the true bugs Henicocoris (Discover Life) and Lestonia (ANIC), the hairy cicadas (Alexander Dudley), the moths Carthaea (ALA) and Lophocorona (ALA), the Ancient Greenling (ARKive), the Giant Northern Termite (ANIC), a wasp Peradenia (ANIC), a caddisfly Antipodoecia (MDFRC), the ironic flies (ANIC), the beetles Lamingtonium (TFIC) and Myrabolia (TFIC), a webspinner Metoligotoma (ANIC), mites Ptochacarus (Internet Archive), the urodacid scorpions (Museum Victoria), millipedes Peterjohnsia (Polydesmida), Hickman's Pygmy Mountain Shrimp (parks.tas.gov.au), the Hairy Stone Crab (Port Phillip Bay), a remipede Kumonga (WA Museum), the Bell Clapper (Eddie Hardy), Diastoma (Eddie Hardy), the Giant Panda Snail (Australian Museum), a relict bivalve mollusc Neotrigonia (PLOS One), the Passion Flower Feather Star (ausmarinverts.net), and a jellyfish Csiromedusa (National Geographic).
In addition to the marsupial moles, representatives of families of mammals exclusive to Australia include the Platypus (ARKive), the Koala (ARKive), the Honey Possum (ARKive), the probably extinct Thylacine (ARKive), the Musky Rat Kangaroo (flickr), the Long-footed Potoroo (EDGE), the Numbat (ARKive), the Bilby (ARKive), the extinct Pig-footed Bandicoot (ARKive), and the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat (EDGE). Other endemic mammals include the Red Kangaroo (ARKive), the Ghost Bat (ARKive), and the Tasmanian Devil (ARKive).
Representatives of bird families
endemic to Australia include the Emu (BirdLife
the Plains-Wanderer (EDGE),
the Rufous Bristlebird (Creagrus),
the Noisy Scrub-bird (EDGE),
the Striated Pardalote (Birds
the Crested Shrike-tit (Creagrus), and the Apostlebird (BirdLife
Australia). Other endemic birds include the
Laughing Kookaburra (Birds
in Backyards), the Musk Duck (BirdLife
the Superb Parrot (ALA),
the Red Goshawk (ARKive),
the Royal Penguin (IBC),
the Australian Painted Snipe (EDGE),
the Satin Bowerbird (IBC),
the Rainbow Pitta (IBC),
and the Malleefowl (Malleefowl)
The exceptionally rich reptile fauna includes the Thorny Devil (ALA), the Marbled Velvet Gecko (flickr), the Shingleback (wildherps.com), the Great Desert Skink (ABC), the Bronzeback Snake-lizard (ARKive), the Perentie (ARKive), the Bandy Bandy (James Cook Univ.), the Inland Taipan (Wikipedia), the Woma Python (ARKive), the Australian Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodilian Species List), the Mary River Turtle (ARKive), the Western Swamp Turtle (ARKive), and, as a breeding species, the Flatback Turtle (ARKive). Carphodactylidae (PBase) is an endemic family of geckos.
The recently extinct gastric-brooding frogs (ARKive) were sometimes considered to represent an endemic family. Other frogs unique to Australia include the Baw Baw Frog (EDGE), the Giant Barred Frog (EDGE), the Holy Cross Frog (AmphibiaWeb), the possibly extinct Sharp-snouted Day Frog (EDGE), the Sunset Frog (ARKive), the White-bellied Frog (ARKive), the Red-crowned Toadlet (ARKive), the Giant Frog (Frogs of Australia), and the Corroboree Frog (Corroboree Frog).
In addition to the Australian Lungfish, the country has several other families of fish found nowhere else. These include the Salamanderfish (Fishes of Australia) with a highly limited range in the freshwaters of Western Australia and representatives of a number of marine groups: the Spotted Handfish (ARKive), the Red Velvetfish (Fishes of Australia), the Old Wife (Fishes of Australia), the Warty Prowfish (Port Philip Bay), the Long-finned Pike (Port Philip Bay), the Blind Shark (Australian Museum), and the White-nosed Pigfish (CCSA pdf file). Other endemic fish include the Leafy Seadragon (ARKive), the Short-snouted Seahorse (ARKive), the Dwarf Sawfish (ARKive), the Coastal Stingeree (ARKive), the Ballina Angelfish (Fishes of Australia), the Ornate Cowfish (Australian Museum), the Southern Saratoga (Fishes of Australia), the Murray Cod (Australian Museum), and the Exquisite Rainbowfish (rainbowfish)
Southwest Australia (CEPF) is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot while a number of other terrestrial ecoregions are exceptionally rich in local endemics. These include the Queensland Tropical Rain Forests (EoE), the Eastern Australian Temperate Forests (EoE), the Kimberley Tropical Savanna (EoE), and the Cape York Peninsula Tropical Savanna (EoE). Among noteworthy marine global ecoregions are the Western Australian Marine (WWF), the Southern Australian Marine (WWF), the Lord Howe-Norfolk Islands Marine (WWF), and the Great Barrier Reef (WWF). Estimates of Australia's endemic species for various taxonomic groups can be found at (environment.gov.au 3 MB pdf file). An overview of Australia's biodiversity can be found at (environment.gov.au).
See also the following Australian territories: Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Norfolk Island.