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

11. Refugia in South Australia

11.1. Reference number SA1

Refuge area: Dalhousie Springs

Biogeographic region: Stony Plains

Type of refuge: Mound springs

Lat./Long. 26°11’S / 135°24’E

Quality of refuge: Highly significant (6)

Area (km²): <100

Chief refuge value

Highly restricted habitat for species confined for long periods of time to tiny and isolated pockets.

General description

Artesian springs of the Great Artesian Basin1.

ANZECC-listed species

The plant Eriocaulon carsonii (E)1.

Regional endemics

Endemics among invertebrates include the isopod Phreatomerus latipes, the ostracod Ngarawa dirga, further undescribed ostracods, a phreatic amphipod Phreatochiltonia anophthalma, further species of the amphipod genus Austrochiltonia, possibly endemic copepods, and a macrostomid flatworm2. There is a substantial radiation of hydrobiid snails endemic to Dalhousie Springs6. The fishes Chlamydogobius sp., Neosilurus sp., Craterocephalus dalhousiensis and C. gloveri are endemic to the Dalhousie basin4. A plant – Nicotiana burbidgeae – is endemic to the springs complex5.

Relict species

One plant is the only record for central Australia (Lemna disperma), and three constitute the only records for northern South Australia (Baumea arthrophylla, Hydrocotyle verticillata and Polygonum salicifolia)5. Most of the endemics mentioned in the previous section represent evolutionary relicts.

Other significant species

None identified.

Key threats

Water drawdown, pressure from visitors, feral animals and infestations of date palms.

Land tenure

Within Witjira National Park.

Key references

1. Harris (1992)

2. Ponder (1986)

3. Zeidler and Ponder (1989)

4. Kodric-Brown & Brown (1993)

5. Mollenmans in Zeidler and Ponder (1989)

6. Ponder et al. (1989)