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

10. Refugia in Western Australia (continued)

10.11. Reference number WA11

Refuge area: Caves of the Oscar and Napier Ranges

Biogeographic region: Dampierland

Type of refuge: Cave system

Lat./Long. 17°07’ - 18°10’S / 124°35’ - 125°45’E

Quality of refuge: Highly significant (6)

Area (km²): Scattered over <10,000

Chief refuge value

ANZECC-listed species in gorge sites; endemic land snails and cave-dwelling invertebrates.

General description

Region of massive limestone features. "These limestone ramparts formed a barrier reef about 350 million years ago; today they are a treasure-house of endemic species and fossil deposits"2. The ranges "include some of the most beautiful and striking scenery to be found in Western Australia"2. The ranges include Geikie Gorge, Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek (included elsewhere).

ANZECC-listed species

None identified.

Regional endemics and relict species

The Ranges support a large number of endemic land snails and cave-dwelling invertebrates. Twenty-one species of camaenid land snails are endemic to the ranges (genera Amplirhagada, Westraltrachia, Rhagada, Kimboraga, Kendrickia, Mouldinigia and Quisrachia); also one species of pupillid land snail Gyliotrachela napierana4.

Other significant species

See Williams for freshwater fauna of the area3.

Key threats

None identified.

Land tenure

Pastoral leases; there is a recommendation that Brooking Gorge (north-west of Fitzroy Crossing) and environs be declared a Class A reserve, and part of Oscar Range be declared as the Devonian Reef National Park (Class A reserve)2.

Key references

1. Keighery and Gibson (1993)

2. Kenneally and McKenzie (1991)

3. Williams (1979)

4. Solem (1981, 1984)