Number of Species Native to Australia
There is much more to Australian wildlife than koalas and kangaroos. In fact, biologists have identified 386 mammal species native to Australia.
That's just a small fraction, though, of all the different types of animals from the continent. The number of vertebrate animal species (animals with backbones) totals well over 7,300.
Still, Australia's wild animals are far outnumbered by its diversity of plants. Flowering plant species alone add up to over 18,000. Including the other types of plants conifers, ferns, mosses and plant algae brings the total to over 21,000 species.
|Total Vertebrate Animals||7,358|
|Flowering plants (angiosperms)||18,706|
The numbers given here are for species identified so far. Scientists expect to discover even more species in Australia. They figure another 860 vertebrate animal species, mostly fish, have yet to be identified. The total number of known plant species is anticipated to climb by another 5,600, including 2,300 flowering plants.
Australia's Unique Plants and Animals
Living on an isolated continent allows plants and animals to evolve into unique species. So an exceptionally large proportion of Australia's plants and animals are endemic, meaning they naturally exist nowhere else in the world.
Found wild only in Australia are nearly half of the country's birds and 87 percent of its mammals. At least 93 percent of its species of reptiles, amphibians, flowering plants and conifers are unique to Australia. That amounts to 3,000 endemic vertebrate animals and 18,000 endemic plant species.
Arthur D Chapman. 2009. Numbers of Living Species in Australia and the World. 2nd edition. Australian Government, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Canberra, Australia.