Endemic Species


An plant or an animal may be termed as endemic if they are found in just one region and nowhere else in the world. For example, kangaroos were originally endemic to Australia and were found nowhere else in the world. The cases where they have been spotted outside their natural habitat is due to humans introducing them when they the animal was in captivity. There were also other marsupials that were endemic only to Australia and its surrounding islands. The Tasmanian Tiger is one such animal that was endemic to Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. But now, they are extinct.

A Tasmanian Tiger

One tends to adapt themselves to their surroundings, climate, habitat and other variations. After which it becomes difficult to uproot ourselves and settle elsewhere. All living species, human, plants, animals, and birds have a habit of making home and finding it difficult to leave when the time calls for it. Let’s see what makes an endemic species.

Endemic species are those which are only found in a given region or location and nowhere else in the world. So the region which the species is endemic to ends up being called the “endemic site”, a “national endemic”, a “geographical range endemic”, or a political region endemic depending on the location. But as we see endemic plants and animals are those that are unique to a specific geographic region; hence, this makes them incredibly unique and more vulnerable to extinction. Because they are only found in certain locations as they require special conservation efforts.

Lemurs of Madagascar _ Endemic species

Lemurs of Madagascar

Examples of Endemic species

There are several ways in which a species may come to be endemic to a particular area. A broadly distributed population may disappear from several habitats due to changes which have occurred in their natural habitat.. The changes could be an influx of predators, human activities, and climate changes. All other species that were widely distributed around the world starts to die out until the species becomes forcefully restrained to just one region.

For example: Endemic species, such as the lemurs of Madagascar and the tortoises of the Galápagos can be found here. Big islands also provide the same isolation but on a larger scale. Antarctica Hawaii and Australia are all huge land masses where we can find a lot of endemic species. Kangaroos, koalas, and polar bears are all endemic to these places.

In the case of endemic plants, sometimes species become endemic due to habitat destruction as discussed above.

The Redwood Forest on the West Coast of the United States has become endemic as it is now almost entirely limited to California. While there was a time when Redwoods used to cover much of the United States but have been destroyed by logging and are now limited to a small conservation area.

Diseases, on the other hand, can also be endemic. An endemic disease may be geographically isolated or it may be isolated to a certain group. Malaria is an example of an endemic disease because it is mostly limited to small pockets of infection in Africa.

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Practise This Question

Statement(S) : A Mule and a liger are not considered to be separate species. Reason(R) : Mules and ligers are infertile and cannot give rise to their own offsprings.