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

4. Foci of biological diversity in Western Australia (continued)

4.11. Geraldton Sandplains


382,723 km²

Primary land-use

Extensive sheep grazing,

National Parks and Nature Reserves

Kalbarri National Park, Zuytdorp Nature Reserve, Zuytdorp National Park.

Management problems

No information.

ANZECC-listed species

Reptiles: The agamid Egernia stokesii aethiops (V) from Baudin Island (Cogger et al. 1993, pp. 94-6 ).

Plants: Rhizanthella gardneri (V) (Leigh et al. 1984, pp. 127-9) and Drummondia ericoides (V) (Leigh et al. 1984, p. 315).

Species that are regionally endemic

Zuytdorp area: The pygopodids Aprasia haroldi and Pletholax gracilis edelensis; the skinks Ctenotus youngsoni, Lerista humphriesi, L. kendricki, L. maculosa and Menetia amaura (Cogger 1992).

Lower Murchison: The skinks Lerista humphriesi, L. yuna and L. axillaris, and the blind snake Ramphotyphlops leptosoma (Cogger 1992).

Relict populations

The skink Egernia stokesii badia is now restricted to Dirk Hartog Isand and some areas north of Carnarvon and east of Kellerberrin (Cogger et al. 1993, pp.97-9).

Other significant populations

Reptiles: An isolated population of the dragon Ctenophorus isolepis near Coburn Homestead 300 km south of the other nearest population (Storr and Harold 1980).

Frogs: The burrowing frog Arenophryne rotunda is known only from the Zuytdorp area and Dirk Hartog Island (Roberts 1990).

Plants: Drakaea jeanensis (Leigh et al. 1984, pp. 120-1), Helipterum gracile (p. 160), Hydatella leptogyne (p. 181), Beyeria lepidopetala (pp. 193-4), Pseudanthus nematophurus (pp. 198-9), Gastrolobium propinquum (p. 207), Lechenaultia longiloba (pp. 223-4), Nigromnia globosa (p. 225), Thryptomene stenophylla (pp. 281-2), and Stylidium pseudocaespitosum (p. 335).

Wetland sites

The lower reaches of the Murchison River contain permanent pools with riparian woodland fringes (Jaensch and Lane 1993).


Apparent refugia include the lower Murchison River (see section 10.17), Edel Land, Heirisson Prong and Peron Peninsula (10.31), and the Zuytdorp area (10.32).