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

13. Refugia in Queensland (continued)

13.6. Reference number QLD6

Refuge area: Selwyn Range

Biogeographic region: Mount Isa Inlier

Type of refuge: Mountain range

Lat./Long. 20°30’S / 139°E to 21°45’S / 141°E

Quality of refuge: Highly significant (5)

Area (km²): <10,000

Chief refuge value

A mountain range potentially providing habitat for many endemic or relict species.

General description

Rugged hilly country of varied geology but with predominantly skeletal soils and eucalypt woodland over spinifex. Systematic studies seem to be lacking, but the position of the Range within Nix’s1 interzone between the Torresian and Eyrean biotas of Australia, together with the indications mentioned below of endemic or relict species, together suggest that the Selwyn Ranges may shelter many interesting species.

ANZECC-listed species

Black-footed rock wallabies Petrogale lateralis (V) occur in the Mount Isa area2. The plant species Ptilotus maconochiei (V) has been recorded from the Mount Isa highlands3.

Regional endemics

A gecko Gehyra robusta and a skink Ctenotus striaticeps are endemic to the Ranges4. An undescribed plant species of the genus Heliotropium is apparently confined to the Mount Isa highlands3.

Relict species

The following rare plants have been collected from the Mount Isa highlands, although it is not certain that they constitute relicts3, 5: Goodenia angustifolia, Acacia strongylophylla, Brachychiton collinus, Amaranthus pallidiflorus, Ptilotus royceanus, Ipomoea antonschmidii, Fimbristylis distincta and Croton tomentellus.

Other significant species

None identified.

Key threats

Land degradation through over-grazing and feral animals, especially along drainage lines.

Land tenure

Pastoral leases.

Key references

1. Nix (1982)

2. Eldridge et al. (1993)

3. Neldner (1991)

4. Cogger (1992)

5. Thomas and McDonald (1989)