Great Sandy-Tanami Deserts - A Global Ecoregion
Richest lizard communities in the world
The Great Sandy-Tanami deserts are the richest deserts in Australia that exhibit high levels of local endemism. This Global ecoregion is made up of these terrestrial ecoregions: Central Ranges xeric scrub; Gibson desert; Great Sandy-Tanami desert.
But intense heat evaporates the moisture almost as quickly as it falls. The region supports many unique plant and animals species specially adapted to the difficult conditions.
Found here is the Livistonia palm - one of the spectacular plant species adapted to desert conditions. A number of mammals survive here, including Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus), the endemic little Red antechinus (Dasykaluta rosamondae), Marsupial mole (Notoryctes typhlops), and Bilby (Macrotis lagotis).
Among the numerous species of reptiles found here are Desert cave gecko (Heteronotia spelea), Desert death adder (Acanthophis pyrrhus), the Woma (Aspidites ramsayi), and the endemic Red dragon (Ctenophorus rufescens).
Amphibians such as the Desert treefrog (Litoria rubella), Sandy burrowing frog (Limnodynastes spenceri), and Desert spadefoot toad (Notaden nichollsi) also call this ecoregion home.
Bird species include Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), White-fronted honeyeater (Phylidonyris albifrons), Variegated fairywren (Malurus lamberti), Red-backed kingfisher (Todirhamphus pyrrhopygia), and Port Lincoln parrot (Barnardius zonarius).
Fire management, feral animals, and overgrazing pose threats to this ecoregion.
Snapshot: Ecoregion 129
1,261,000 sq. km (487,000 sq. miles)
Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Why are rock wallabies so called?
Rock wallabies, as their name suggests, live among rock outcroppings throughout this region. These small marsupials, known locally as "monjon", leap easily from rock to rock with the help of the thick pads on their hind feet.