In southwest Australia, there exists a small area with a large difference of species- a “hot spot” of biodiversity. The geology of the area lends to the types of species that exist there. In the winter months, rain falls and gives life to the costal ranges. It gets drier inland and the area becomes more desert-like, which also adds to the diversity. There are more than 5570 different plant species, with roughly 2950 of them being endemic (found only in this area).
Koala in Eucalyptus Tree
Acacia and Eucalyptus plants are a larger part of the endemic species that exist here. They are members of the ten largest plant families in SW Australia that make up 61 percent of all the flora. Ranges in size are the biggest differentials within the families, along with different types of flowers/bushes. Four families are endemic: Ecdeiocoleaceae, Emblingiaceae, Eremosynaceae and the monotypic Cephalotaceae (a carnivorous type of plant).
Therer are over 280 types of birds that are native to the area. Of these, twelve are endemic. The level of endemism here is greater than in other Mediterranean- type areas, and it is known as an Endemic Bird Area by Bird life International. The area is home to 22 different parrot species, (3 of them are endemic) one of which is the Carnaby’s black-cockatoo. Another, the noisy scrub bird (Atrichornis clamosus), was thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 1961. Many other species are threatened with loss of habitat and fragmentation; some are near extinction.
There are about 60 native mammals to the area, with 12 endemic. One of these is the mouse-sized honey possum, the only known representative of the family Tarsipedidae, living only on costal plain heaths. Some species have become specifically endemic because they are now extinct in the rest of their natural areas.
The Numbat, a squirrel-sized anteater, is the only member of the Myrmecobiidea, and is also now the mammalian symbol of western Australia.
When it comes to reptiles, this region of Australia happens to be exceptional. Of more than 175 species, nearly 30 are endemic. The Western Swamp Turtle is the most threatened reptile in Australia, found in only one or two swamps in the area.