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)

10.32. Reference number WA32

Refuge area: Zuytdorp

Biogeographic region: Geraldton Sandplains

Type of refuge: Refuge from land clearing

Lat./Long. 26°35’ - 27°15’S / 113°45’ - 114°15’E

Quality of refuge: Extremely significant (8)

Area (km²): <10,000

Chief refuge value

Habitat for malleefowl and regionally endemic reptiles and plants.

General description

Zuytdorp is an area of high botanical diversity in the transition zone between two botanical provinces (Eremaean and South-west). Existing and proposed reserves have never been grazed by stock due to the areas’s low pastoral value.

ANZECC-listed species

Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata1 are now confined to the far south of the central zone, i.e. country immediately south and south-east of Freycinet Estuary to south of the mulga-eucalypt line4. The skink Egernia stokesii aethiops (V). The plants Rhizanthella gardneri (V) and Drummondia ericoides (V)3.

Regional endemics

Among reptiles, the pygopodid Aclys concinna major, the skinks Ctenotus zasticus, Lerista maculosa and L. humpriesi. A further five taxa are almost confined to this area: a frog Arenophryne rotunda extending only to Dirk Hartog Island and Kalbarri National Park, a pygopodid Aprasia smithi to Edel Land and Kalbarri, a dragon Ctenophorus parviceps butleri to Edel Land, a skink Ctenotus youngsoni to Dirk Hartog island, a skink Lerista connivens to Kalbarri and the islands of Freycinet Estuary, and a blindsnake Ramphotyphlops leptosoma to Wooramel and the lower Murchison2.

Relict species

The following rare plants: Drakaea jeanensis, Helipterum gracile, Hydatella leptogyne, Beyeria lepidopetala, Pseudanthus nematophurus, Gastrolobium propinquum, Lechenaultia longiloba, Nigromnia globosa, Thryptomene stenophylla, and Stylidium pseudocaespitosum3.

Other significant species

Among reptiles, Ctenotus zastictus and Egernia stokesii badia7.

Key threats

Clearance of any further land might reduce the numbers of relict and endemic species in this area.

Land tenure

Former Cooloomia Nature Reserve and Zuytdorp National Park have now been amalgamated into the Zuytdorp Nature Reserve.

Key references

1. Blakers et al. (1984)

2. Storr and Harold (1990)

3. Leigh et al. (1984)

4. Storr (1990)

5. Shepherd (1991/2)

6. Burbidge et al. (1980)

7. Cogger et al. (1993)

8. Storr and Harold (1978, 1983)