Biodiversity publications archive

Refugia for biological diversity in arid and semi-arid Australia

Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 4
S.R. Morton, J. Short and R.D. Barker, with an Appendix by G.F. Griffin and G. Pearce
Biodiversity Unit
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995

10. Refugia in Western Australia (continued)

10.3. Reference number WA3

Refuge area: North-west islands from Exmouth to Karratha

Biogeographic region: Carnarvon

Type of refuge: Islands

Lat./Long. 21°41’S / 114°19’E to 20°54’S / 116°02’E

Quality of refuge: Highly significant (4)

Area (km²): <1,000

Chief refuge value

Refuge for endemic and threatened mammals and reptiles. Isolated from land use changes and feral animals present on adjacent mainland.

General description

Chain of dozens of islands extending from tip of North-West Cape in the south to near Karratha in the north. Larger islands are the Muiron (21° 40' S / 114° 23' E), Thevenard (21° 28' S / 114° 60' E) and Airlie (21° 20' S / 115° 10' E) Islands.

ANZECC-listed species

Airlie Island ctenotus Ctenotus angusticeps (Airlie Island) (V); rookeries for green turtles Chelonia mydas (V), loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta (E), and small numbers of hawksbill turtles Eretmochelys imbricata (V) on Muiron Islands.

Regional endemics

Airlie Island ctenotus Ctenotus angusticeps ; Thevenard Island mouse Leggadina lakedownensis (an isolated form2).

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

Rattus tunneyi on Weld Island (21° 23' S / 115° 33' E)5. A few flatback turtles Chelonia depressa nest on Thevenard Island3.

Key threats

Feral animals, house mice, oil-field development, tourism and resort development.

Land tenure

At least some islands are Nature Reserves (e.g. Thevenard). Status of other islands not recorded.

Key references

1. Cogger et al. (1993)

2. Morton (1983)

3. Lee (in press)

4. Prince (pers. comm.)

5. Burbidge (1989)