We sincerely hope that you enjoy this article about 7 Amazing Australian Species. Naturally, every part of the world has its share of incredible forms of life. However, Australia sometimes just seems to have been gifted with more than its share of them. Whether they walk, crawl, hop, climb, fly, or swim, they are all remarkable, and fascinating to learn about. We hope that you come away from this article with a better understanding of and appreciation for the many species of this incredible part of the world.
Giant Pink Slug
Giant Pink Slug Facts
- Leading off this list of 7 Amazing Australian Species is the visually incredible species known as the Giant Pink Slug.
- The rather incredible creature represents a species of giant air-breathing slugs that evolved as native to a tiny portion of Australia.
- Also, within a very specific ecosystem, this incredible mollusk actually serves two quite important ecological functions.
- Firstly, it breaks down the plant litter into the nutrient-rich soil to promote plant growth.
- Secondly, this astonishing animal also serves as food for birds and other animals indigenous to the isolated region.
- Finally, evidence indicates that a volcanic eruption 17 million years ago created an isolated region where its evolution diverged from related species.
Giant Pink Slug Physical Description
Firstly, the remarkable Giant Pink Slug remains related to the Red Triangle Slug. It also measures roughly 8 in (20 cm) in length.
Most notably, of course, remains the brilliant neon-like red coloring of this fascinating example of divergent evolution.
Also, the precise function of the brilliant coloring remains undetermined. It may serve as camouflage in its environment, but experts remain undecided.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Gastropoda
- Order: Panpulnonata
- Family: Athoracophoridae
- Genus: Triboniophorus
- Species: T. aff. graeffei
Giant Pink Slug Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Rather uniquely, the astounding Giant Pink Slug only inhabits an inland mountain in New South Wales, within Mount Kaputar National Park.
Further, the animal is isolated to a tiny area at an altitude around 4,921 ft (1,500 m) and of about 38.5 sq mi (100 sq km) size.
The area is also surrounded by numerous snow gum trees. Most of the top of the mountain is pure wilderness, and although dry plains lie around the mountain, it receives copious amounts of rainfall and snow.
Also, its temperature averages 10 degrees cooler than the plains.
Thus, it forms a secluded ecozone, known as a sky island. These sky islands are popular for an abundance of unique indigenous species of plants, animals, and insects.
The invertebrate appears by the hundreds on cool, wet, misty mornings. During the day, however, it hides in the detritus at the bases of the trees. Yet at night, it comes out and climbs the tree to feed.
This remarkable creature primarily feeds on the mosses and algae growing on the trunks of the trees.
Tree Kangaroo Facts
- Our next entry on our role call of 7 Amazing Australian Species is the extremely uniquely evolved Tree Kangaroo.
- Firstly, the gorgeous marsupial represents a unique genus of kangaroo. Most notably, this remarkable animal actually evolved into a primarily arboreal creature.
- The majority of known members in this incredible genus remain considered to be threatened with extinction. The principal reasons for this include habitat loss and hunting.
- Individuals typically remain very slow and clumsy on the ground. It moves rather slowly, haltingly, and hops awkwardly. Yet in the trees, it actually appears to be extremely agile and a surprisingly effective climber.
- This surprising creature also ranks as an amazingly powerful leaper. It has been seen to jump as much as 30 ft (9 m) from one limb to another.
- Finally, it can also jump to the ground from as high as 59 ft (18 m) without any injury. This ranks as absolutely incredible.
Tree Kangaroo Physical Description
The astonishing Tree Kangaroo has evolved several adaptations useful for an arboreal life. Its back legs grow much broader and shorter than those of its terrestrial cousins.
It also possesses rather long, curved nails on those rear legs, which the gorgeous mammal routinely, and quite effectively, uses for gripping and climbing.
The Tree Kangaroo also has a much broader and longer tail than a terrestrial kangaroo. This provides it with an enhanced balance while moving through the canopy.
Like terrestrial kangaroos, it remains physically incapable of sweating, to cool its body. Instead, it licks its forearms and allows the moisture to evaporate. Take a moment to imagine if humans did this.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Diprotodontia
- Family: Macropodidae
- Genus: Dendrolagus
Tree Kangaroo Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The only known forms of the surprising Tree Kangaroo inhabit the rainforest regions of New Guinea, parts of Queensland, Australia , and a few local islands.
The majority of the different species in the genus live in montane areas. There remain several that dwell in lowland areas, however.
This stunning animal thrives in treetops, as opposed to terrestrial kangaroos which inhabit mainland Australia. It has somehow managed to adapt better to regions of high altitude than its terrestrial cousins.
It breeds during the monsoon season. Tree Kangaroo matings produce only one young per litter. Its primary predator seems to be the amethystine python, which also inhabits the same canopies.
Also, being herbivorous in nature, its own diet consists principally of fruits and leaves.
Western Underground Orchid
Western Underground Orchid Facts
- The next entry to this listing of 7 Amazing Australian Species is the astounding Western Underground Orchid.
- Most notably, this incredible orchid lives and blooms entirely beneath the surface. Due to this unbelievable fact, it’s an incredibly rare and remarkable type of plant.
- Therefore, regrettably, botanists cannot definitively ascertain just how many of these unique flowers may exist.
- In addition, the befuddling discovery, occurring in 1928 was entirely accidental since it is a subterranean species. Also, only 19 mature specimens are known to exist in the wild.
- It evolved as part of an extremely unique and specialized ecosystem. It appears to be entirely dependent upon the presence of a specific species of shrub and a specific variety of fungus.
- Finally, at the moment, the IUCN has no listing for the species. This occurs due to the understandable lack of sufficient information.
Western Underground Orchid Physical Description
Firstly, the Western Underground Orchid is an entirely subterranean plant. Therefore, the unique plant has no need for coloring. The chemical chlorophyll does not appear in its chemical composition.
In addition, it boasts a white, leafless stem, and a flower head. Also, the flower head itself is made of 150 tiny, densely packed blooms. Yet it is tiny, averaging only 0.5 in (1.27 cm) across.
Its most noteworthy characteristic is its symbiotic development. It draws all of its nourishment from one rather rare species of shrub, the broom honey myrtle.
A unique type of fungus also links the two plants, and the orchid receives all of its nutrients, water, and carbon dioxide from the shrub, through the fungus.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Monocots
- Order: Asparagales
- Family: Orchidaceae
- Genus: Rhizanthella
- Species: R. gardneri
Western Underground Orchid Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Western Underground Orchid remains extremely rare, and only a few specimens have ever been found. The full extent of the species’ range, therefore, remains uncertain. However, all specimens discovered to date have been in western Australia.
Botanists know little about the species because of its rarity, yet we do know that the orchid blooms between May and June. We also know that it is capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction.
Further, presumably, insects such as termites and gnats possibly serve as the principal pollinators of this species.
The plants also appear to take 6 months to reach maturity.
The most serious threats to the species consist of climate change and habitat loss since bushland comprises their only known habitat.
Tawny Frogmouth Facts
- The fourth form of life in this compendium of 7 Amazing Australian Species is the remarkable Tawny Frogmouth.
- Most notably, superficially, the truly uniquely-named bird resembles a variety of owl. However, there remain distinct differences between the this particular avian and owls.
- Further, this fascinating bird species was first identified in 1801, by the British naturalist John Latham. It also represents one of three known species of frogmouth native to its endemic habitat range.
- The quite remarkable winged animal has also adapted quickly and relatively well to human civilization. Because of this, the bird often feeds on the small vermin often found near human habitations.
Tawny Frogmouth Physical Description
The Tawny Frogmouth remains a rather large bird species, attaining a body length of as much as 21 in (53 cm). An average adult weighs as much as roughly 1.5 lb (0.7 kg) between feedings.
However, the animal does display moderate sexual dimorphism. Due to this, females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
In addition, individuals have a stocky body shape, with comparatively short legs. Furthermore, tthe wings grow rounded in shape. The Tawny Frogmouth also has a wide beak. Most typically this presents as olive gray or black in color. The tips of these bills possess a distinct hook shape at their end.
The eyes develop large and dark yellow in color. Finally, the predominant color of the feathers appears to be various shades of gray, with black streaks scattered throughout.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Caprimulgiformes
- Family: Podargidae
- Genus: Podargus
- Species: P. strigoides
Tawny Frogmouth Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the Tawny Frogmouth inhabits a region that should be of no surprise. The remarkable bird represents yet another avian species endemic to the country of Australia.
This species has a rather widespread distribution throughout most of the mainland regions of the continent. But, exceptions do exist. These include the central Northern Territory, western Queensland, and much of the Nullabor Plain.
It shows itself to be a highly adaptable species. The Tawny Frogmouth usually appears in woodlands, forests, heathland areas, scrubland, and savannas. Individuals do not live in areas of heavy rainforest, however.
This bird also appears to be quite common in the suburbs of many Australian cities. Many often nest in large parks and even the trees of backyards.
In addition, like other birds, it has carnivorous nature, and its principal prey consists of large quantities of small insects. This bird also preys on a wide variety of small mammals and reptiles.
- Placing fifth out of our 7 Amazing Australian Species, but only due to random ordering, is the remarkable Cassowary.
- Firstly, the Cassowary is a genus of large flightless birds, with three species surviving today. Also, the Southern Cassowary remains by far the most common of the three varieties.
- In addition, among known similar birds, this fascinating animal ranks as the second heaviest, and third tallest. Further, the truly unique birds generally remain quite reclusive, and highly elusive.
- But, the species is also quite shy, even more than most wild animals . It most commonly remains well known for its ability to rapidly disappear into the dense rainforest when approached.
- Finally, the surprising animal generally has a remarkably shy demeanor, as well. However, if provoked the creature does has the ability to inflict serious, possibly even fatal, injuries to humans.
Cassowary Physical Description
Most notably he amazing species displays moderate sexual dimorphism. Due to this, among all three species of Cassowary, the female stays the larger of the genders. But, males typically attain a maximum height of around 5.9 ft (1.8 m).
Yet females often reach a height of as much as 6.6 ft (2 m). Further, large females sometimes weigh as much as 129 lb (58.5 kg).
The feathers of females also generally appear more colorful than those of the males. The wings remain vestigial and extremely small. The legs of this bird develop as rather powerful. Individuals have the ability to run at speeds of as much as 31 mph (50 km/h).
It also has a long, sharp claw on the middle of each of the three toes. This sometimes grows as long as 5 in (12.6 cm).
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Casuariiformes
- Family: Casuariidae
- Genus: Casuariius
Cassowary Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Cassowary evolved as endemic to the extremely wet and humid rainforest. It occurs in New Guinea, northeastern Australia and local islands.
It also has a tendency to wander into grasslands, savanna, and swampy regions in search of food. Except for mating season, the Cassowary usually lives as a solitary animal. Males appear to be highly territorial, and females seem to be less territorial.
The bird can deliver a serious, even fatal blow with this claw. Though attacks on humans rarely occur, there have been serious injuries, even fatalities reported.
Finally, the animal is primarily frugivorous in its eating habits.Individuals will also supplement that with the occasional flower, snail, frog, rodent, etc.
Australian Ghost Shark
Australian Ghost Shark Facts
- Listing at number six on this list of 7 Amazing Australian Species is the uniquely evolved Australian Ghost Shark.
- Firstly, this term serve as one of the common names of the Callorhinchus milii. Other popular names for this ocean creature also include elephant shark and elephant fish.
- Despite the name, the rather bizarre-looking creature is not actually a shark. In fact, it is a species of Chimera and as such, it forms a distant cousin of sharks and rays.
- Yet another fascinating fact is that the Callorhinchus milii represents a true living fossil. Evidence indicates that the remarkable species has changed very little in more than 400 million years.
- Finally, it often gets caught commercially. However, despite this unfortunate practice, its population appears to be stable. Therefore, the IUCN currently lists it as a species of Least Concern.
Australian Ghost Shark Physical Description
Sometimes called the elephant fish, the incredible Australian Ghost Shark does not grow to a large size. Because of this, it only attains a maximum known size of about 49 in (125 cm) in length.
But, it has one most easily recognizable physical feature. This is the club-shaped projection on the end of the snout. This, the individual uses to search the sandy ocean bottom for prey.
Also, in color, most typically present a silvery white, with dark spots occurring at random locations. In addition, the body generally appears smooth, and without denticles.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Chondrichthyes
- Order: Chimaeriformes
- Family: Callorhinchidae
- Genus: Callorhinchus
- Species: C. milii
Australian Ghost Shark Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
First of all, the Australian Ghost Shark inhabits a quite restricted habitat range. This includes a portion of the waters off Australia and New Zealand. However, it remains unclear whether this has always been its endemic area. It may have once inhabited a more extensive range.
Currently, it appears to be present only in a few specific areas. These include the southwest Pacific Ocean, on the continental shelf off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, including Tasmania.
Individuals primarily prefer waters with a depth of at least 656 ft (200 m). However, during mating season the species moves into shallower waters. In addition, some even migrate into coastal bays and estuaries during mating season.
Finally, it evolved as oviparous in nature and feeds primarily on a variety of small mollusks and shellfish. It, in turn, serves as prey for larger fish and sharks.
Mary River Turtle
Mary River Turtle Facts
- The seventh and final specimen among our 7 Amazing Australian Species is the visually distinctive Mary River Turtle.
- This remarkable small creature represents a highly unusual variety of reptile, as you can see for yourself.
- In addition to being rather different from many other turtles, it bears the distinction of not being identified until in 1994
- Sadly, this distinctive species also has an extremely restricted range of habitation, making it quite vulnerable
- Therefore, the IUCN currently lists it as Endangered, pending further information on its numbers
- For the obvious reason, many people in its native region also know this fascinating animal as the green haired turtle.
Mary River Turtle Physical Description
In addition to its different appearance, the Mary River Turtle also ranks as one of the physically largest in its endemic range.
Multiple examples of this animal with a carapace length measuring as much as 20 in (50 cm) have been observed.
The carapace also grows elongated in comparison to related species. It also appears as either plain in color or with intricate patterns.
Also uniquely, the tail grows much longer than that of most other turtles. It often measures two-thirds the length of the carapace.
The most noticeable feature, however, remains the strands of green algae, resembling hair, that covers many specimens.
Finally, it also has the highly unusual, for a turtle, ability to breathe underwater, via special glands…located near the genitals.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Chelidae
- Genus: Elusor
- Species: E. macrurus
Mary River Turtle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite sadly, the sincerely fascinating Mary River Turtle also appears to only inhabit an extremely small portion of Australia.
There, the only known representatives of the species live in the Mary River, hence the name, in southeast Queensland.
Unfortunately, researchers currently have very little confirmed information about the ecology of this recently recognized species.
It inhabits regions of flowing water, and makes its nest on dry ground. In addition, individuals take longer to mature than many related turtles.
This reptile, like many others, also has an omnivorous diet. It commonly feeds on a wide variety of plants and small prey.
We sincerely hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed this article about 7 Amazing Australian Species. Obviously, there are hundreds of other species that could be on this list, at least. Herein, we have merely attempted to whet your appetite for information about the astonishing flora and fauna of this remarkable portion of the world. But we must do all we can to protect them, for many of them face great threats to their continued existence as a species.