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 (continued)

11.8. Reference number SA8

Refuge area: Lake Eyre

Biogeographic region: Simpson-Strzelecki Dunefields

Type of refuge: Wetland

Lat./Long. 29°02’S / 137°20’E

Quality of refuge: Significant (3)

Area (km²): <10,000

Chief refuge value

The terminus of one of the largest endorheic drainage basins in the world, and a major breeding area for waterbirds during periods of inundation.

General description

An immense playa complex of salt lakes subject to occasional extensive flooding but more regular minor flooding every couple of years1, 2, 3.

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics

The Lake Eyre dragon Ctenophorus maculosus is restricted to Lake Eyre and surrounding salt lakes4; an ostracod crustacean Diacypris sp. is also endemic2.

Relict species

None identified.

Other significant species

At least 36 species of waterbirds occupy the Lake in vast numbers during flooding, and several breed in large numbers3.

Key threats

Alterations to hydrology upstream, and introduction of exotic fish.

Land tenure

Lake Eyre National Park.

Key references

1. Kotwicki (1986)

2. Williams (1990)

3. Kingsford and Porter (1993)

4. Mitchell (1973)