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Associates in the Southwest Australia Savanna

The Southwest Australia savanna is an ecoregion in the southwestern portion of Australia, which comprises approximately  65,200 square miles of land area. This is an arid region, a considerable portion of which has been converted to wheat cultivation.  The Southwest Australia savanna is considered to lie within the Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands & Shrub biome. Austral summer temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius. There are 458 vertebrates recorded in the ecoregion, including seven endemic species. There are also 21 threatened vertebrate taxa present, six of which are mammals.

The primeval habitat of this ecoregion was comprised of savanna interspersed with eucalyptus woodland, mallee woodlands,  shrublands and heath habitats. However,  in the arable south of the ecoregion, extensive agricultural conversion to wheat farming has been carried out in the last two hundred years. Much of the original savanna is extant within the north of the Southwest Australia savanna, where acacia dominates, rather than eucalyptus. Flora of the ecoregion include many species of woody and herbaceous taxa. The scented Acacia rostellifera. is an example common tree taxon.

Endemic reptiles in the ecoregion are: Allen's ctenotus (Ctenotus alleni), Shark Bay minetia (Minetia  amaura), Christina's lerista (Lerista christinae), Lerista axilaris, L. eupoda and L. yuna. Endemic amphibians in the ecoregion are represented by the dumpy frog (Arenophryne rotunda).

Threatened mammals in the ecoregion are: the Endangered banded hare-wallaby (Lagostrophus fasciatus), the Near Threatened black-footed rock wallaby (Petrogale lateralis), the Near Threatened brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), the Near Threatened red-tailed phascogale (Phascogale calura), the Endangered numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) and the Near Threatened western quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii).

Special status amphibians in the Southwest Australia savanna are the Near Threatened Main's ground froglet (Geocrinia lutea). Special status reptiles in the Southwest Australia savanna are: the Near Threatened Bardick snake (Echiopsis curta), the Vulnerable Shark Bay ctenotus (Ctenotus zastictus) and the Endangered woma (Aspidites ramsayi).

Special status birds here are the Near Threatened Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis), the Near Threatened black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), the Near Threatened blue-billed duck (Oxyura australis), the Near Threatened bush thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius), the Vulnerable fairy tern (Sterna nereis), the Vulnerable fat eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), the Vulnerable great knot (Calidris tenuirostris), the Vulnerable malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) and the Endangered slender-billed black cockatoo (Calyptorhyncus latirostris), the Endangered white-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhyncus baudinii) and the Near Threatened star finch (Neochmia ruficauda).


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© C.Michael Hogan; World Wildlife Fund; Encyclopedia of Earth

Supplier: C. Michael Hogan

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