Endemic: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

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Endemic Definition

Endemic refers to the quality of an item, location, or notion that is unique to that area or region. The term is used to describe a species that flourishes in a certain location and is not often seen elsewhere. Endemism is a similar term (n., def: the state of being endemic). Another term for endemicity is “the property of being endemic.”

The word endemic comes from the Greek word endemos, which means “to dwell in a location.”

Definition of Endemic Species

The term endemic can refer to a species (ecology) or a disease in biology (medicine). In ecology, an endemic species is one that is unique to the area in which it is found. A species might be endemic to a limited geographic region, such as a single island, or a larger geographical area, such as a continent. If it’s present elsewhere, endemic isn’t the right word to use. The reverse of endemism, cosmopolitan distribution, occurs when a species is present in a wide range of habitats and geographic regions.

How do Species Become Endemic

Speciation is caused for a variety of reasons. Environmental pressure and geographic constraints are two examples of these variables. The types of animals and plants that may flourish and reproduce in a given region are determined by the environmental conditions that the species is exposed to, as well as the constraints imposed by the geographical position of the species’ habitat (e.g., a landmass surrounded by a large body of water). Ecuador’s islands, for example, are home to giant tortoises (big land tortoises). They were unable to relocate to distant islands due to the waters around the area. As a result, their population was limited to two secluded tropical island groups in Ecuador: the Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll and Fregate Island, and Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands.

Endemic Species Examples

Animal and plant species that are unique to a certain geographic region are known as endemic species.

Endemic Animals

Endangered animals are those that can only be found in a small region. The following are some examples.

• Microlophus delanonis (Hood Lava Lizard) is indigenous to Punta Suarez, Espaola Island, Galapagos.

• The population of red squirrels is unique to the north of Scotland.

• Only the Isle of Man has a Manx cat.

• Madagascar’s lemur.

• In the Philippines, sinarapan is a kind of fish.

• New Zealand’s Tokoeka kiwi.

• Australia’s venomous devil lizard.

• The South East Asian tarsier.

• In Tasmania, there is a Tasmanian devil.

• In Hawaii, there is a Hawaiian hoary bat.

Endemic Plants

Plants that are only present in a small region are known as endemic. The following are some examples.

• Nevada primrose (Primula nevadensis) is a plant that is only found in the Great Basin Region in eastern Nevada.

• Aglaia ceramica is an endemic to Indonesia’s Maluku Islands.

• Cassine koordersii is a native of the Indonesian island of Java.

• Melica penicillaris is a grass indigenous to Turkey’s Inner Anatolia.

• Crocus aleppicus is a flowering plant species in the Iridaceae family that is only found in Israel.

• The Hawaiian hibiscus is a flowering plant that is endemic to Hawaii.

Endemic Disease

An endemic illness is one that is always present, in some form or another, in people of a given social class or in people who live in a certain region. Malaria, for example, is a sickness that is only seen in the tropics.

Endemic Citations


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