What is an endemic species?

An endemic species occurs in only one geographic location. A species could be endemic to a forest. A species could be endemic to an island.

This video gives examples of endemic species:

Endemic species featured in the video:

  • Blue-billed curassow, found only in Colombia
  • Caquetá titi monkey, found only in Colombia
  • Patagonia frog, found only in Southern Argentina
  • Rhinoceros iguana, found only in the Dominican Republic

Key points from the video:

  • Endemic species occur in only one location. For example, the Patagonia frog is endemic to southern Argentina. It is found in southern Argentina and it lives nowhere else on Earth.
  • A megadiverse country has a high number of endemic species.
  • Endemic species are very important to the ecosystems in which they live.
  • Endemic species are like environmental thermometers – they indicate the health of the environment in which they occur.
  • Endemic species are extremely vulnerable because they are only found in restricted, and sometimes small, areas.

Research activity:

Find out if there are any endemic species of plant, animal, or fungus where you live. You can research online. Or you can visit a local nature center or library and ask an educator or librarian for help.

What did you find out? Did you find one, two, or maybe more species that are endemic to your area? Draw a picture of one species and write a short story about it. Or create a colorful poster to share with classmates, family, and friends.