Checklist of the Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of Western Australia

Departmental resources | Updated 3 months ago

Taxonomic checklist of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna for Western Australia.

Download the latest version of the WA Checklist (2017) [xlsx 288kb] for the vertebrate fauna of Western Australia. This handy excel sheet can be modified to suit your needs or imported into other applications. Use the 'SORT' column to restore the list into taxonomic order. The file is a single excel workbook, with separate sheets for amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. A written version of the Checklist of Birds of WA 2017 [pdf 496kb] is available to download as a pdf. For the first time we are also including a separate Checklist of the Birds of the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands [pdf 544kb]. Please consider the environment before printing.

The changes from the August 2016 checklist [pdf 89kb], 2016, 2015 and 2014 are documented below and can also be downloaded in pdf format. Previous changes to the checklist (2012-2014) [pdf 156 kb] can be found here.

A comprehensive update of the WA Checklist is released by the WA Museum every year or as necessary. The WA checklist (2017) contains revisions of the terrestrial vertebrate species of Western Australia and additional information on the conservation status of the WA fauna (provided by the Department of Parks and Wildlife). 

The taxonomic changes are based on the work of the WA Museum's Terrestrial Zoology staff, and their many colleagues from around Australia and beyond. In the future, we will try to update the list as new taxonomic changes occur.

Bookmark this page, and keep visiting for the latest updated version.

Please contact the relevant author of the specific list if you have any questions or comments.


Changes from the WA Museum Checklist 2016 (updated 22 August 2017)

Reptiles and Amphibians

New Kimberley Blindsnake and notes on Anilios taxonomy. A new blindsnake, Anilios zonula was described from the west Kimberley based on only two specimens, one of which was recently collected from DPaW’s Kimberley Islands Survey. This brings the total of the little-seen Australian blindsnakes to 45 species, with most of the diversity in Western Australia. 

In addition, until further morphological and molecular studies are undertaken to clarify their status, A. nigricaudus is maintained as the junior synonym of A. guentheri, and A. nigroterminatus as a junior synonym of A. grypus

Ellis, R.J. (2016). A new species of Blindsnake (Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae: Anilios) from the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. Herpetologica 72: 271–278.

Description of a new Aprasia. Aprasia wicherina is a recently-described species of Aprasia only occurs in a small area near Geraldton, WA. It is the 14th species of Aprasia described, most of which occur only in WA. It was inadvertently omitted from our previous checklist.

Maryan, B., Adams, M. and Aplin, K.P. (2015). Taxonomic resolution of the Aprasia repens species-group (Squamata: Pygopodidae) from the Geraldton Sandplains: a description of a new species and additional mainland records of A. clairae. Records of the Western Australian Museum 30: 12–32.

New species name for Pilbara and Gascoyne marbled velvet geckos. A revision of arid and semi-arid marbled velvet geckos of the genus Oedura was recently undertaken. The name Oedura marmorata is now restricted to the Top End of the Northern Territory. The Western Australian populations were described as a new species, O. fimbria. In addition, O. cincta de Vis was resurrected for eastern arid zone populations, and O. bella was described as a new species from the Gulf of Carpentaria country.

Oliver, P.M. and Doughty, P. (2016). Systematic revision of the marbled velvet geckos (Oedura marmorata species complex, Diplodactylidae) from the Australian arid and semi-arid zones. Zootaxa 4088: 151–176.

Revision of the clawless geckos (Crenadactylus ocellatus). Based on strong genetic and morphological evidence, the former monotypic genus Crenadactylus, with one species (ocellatus) and four subspecies (ocellatus in the south-west, horni in the arid zone, naso in the northern Kimberley and rostralis in the southern Kimberley) was revised. All subspecies were elevated to full species, with three new species described: C. occidentalis for western coastal populations, C. tuberculatus for a distinctive form restricted to the Cape Range and C. pilbarensis for the Pilbara populations. The three new species were formerly regarded as belonging to the subspecies C. o. horni, but C. horni (full species) is now restricted to the Central Ranges of the Northern Territory and no longer occurs in Western Australia.

Doughty, P., Ellis, R.J., and Oliver, P.M. (2016). Many things come in small packages: revision of the clawless geckos (Crenadactylus: Diplodactylidae) of Australia. Zootaxa 4168: 239–278.

Revision of the ring-tailed rock dragons. Melville et al. (2016) recently undertook a molecular analysis of the subspecies of C. caudicinctus. This resulted in no subspecies recognized. The full species are caudicinctus, graafi, infans and slateri. The former subspecies mensarum and macropus were synonymized into caudicinctus and slateri, respectively.

Melville, J., Haines, M.L., Hale, J., Chapple, S. and Ritchie, E.G. (2016). Concordance in phylogeography and ecological niche modelling identify dispersal corridors for reptiles in arid Australia. Journal of Biogeography 43: 1844–1855.

Change of family name to Australian hylids. We have changed the family name for all Litoria and Cyclorana from Hylidae to Pelodryadidae in step with recent analyses, e.g. Duellman et al. (2016). However, we maintain Cyclorana and do not assign half the Litoria species to either Dryosophus or Ranoidea. This is consistent with the Australian Society of Herpetologists’ national checklist.

Duellman, W.E., Marion, A.B., and Hedges, S.B. (2016) Phylogenetics, classification, and biogeography of the treefrogs (Amphibia: Anura: Arboranae). Zootaxa 4104: 1–109.

Subspecies of the yellow-bellied seasnake (Hydrophis platurus platurus). A new subspecies of yellow-bellied sea snake, Hydrophis platurus xanthos, has been described from Costa Rica on morphological, distributional and ecological evidence. This necessitates erecting a nominate subspecies for the widely distributed subspecies H. platurus platurus that occurs in Western Australian waters. The new subspecies is smaller and has nearly uniform yellow colouration whereas typical H. p. platurus is black and yellow. If H. p. xanthos is raised to full species in the future, then H. p. platurus would revert to just H. platurus.

Bessesen, B.L. and Galbreath, G.J. (2017). A new subspecies of sea snake, Hyrophis platurus xanthos, from Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. ZooKeys 686: 109–123.

Revision of Ctenotus duricola and C. piankai. Based on genomic analyses and morphological assessment, four divergent lineages were recovered in the skink species C. piankai and C. duricola. Ctenotus piankai was split into C. piankai from the western deserts, extending as far east as Queensland, and C. rhabdotus Rabosky & Doughty from the southern Kimberley, Tanami and northern deserts of the Northern Territory. In the Pilbara region, C. duricola is now restricted to the northern and eastern Pilbara, and C. pallasotus Doughty & Rabosky occurs in the western Pilbara, Hamersley Range and as far south as the North West Cape.

Rabosky, D.L., Doughty, P. and Huang, H. (2017). Lizards in pinstripes: morphological and genomic evidence for two new species of scincid lizards within Ctenotus piankai Storr and C. duricola Storr (Reptilia: Scincidae) in the Australian arid zone. Zootaxa 4303: 1–26.

Addition of Gehyra versicolor. An individual of Gehyra versicolour Hutchinson, Sistrom, Donnellan & Hutchinson, 2014 from near Warburton was genotyped as this species (unpublished data), confirming this species occurrence in Western Australia.

Hutchinson, M.N., Sistrom, M.J., Donnellan, S.C. & Hutchinson, R.G. (2014). Taxonomic revision of the Australian arid zone lizards Gehyra variegata and G. montium (Squamata, Gekkonidae) with description of three new species. Zootaxa 3814: 221–241.

Recognition of Lerista miopus as separate from L. lineopunctulata. A genetic and morphological reassessment of sand sliding skinks from the west coast has resulted in the recognition of Lerista miopus as distinct from L. lineopunctulata. Lerista miopus occurs from around Jurien north to Exmouth along the coast, whereas L. lineopunctulata is now restricted to an area from Jurien in the north and south to the Swan Coastal Plain.

Amey, A.P. & Edwards, D.L. (2017). Taxonomy of the sand sliders of Western Australia’s central coast (genus Lerista, Squamata: Scincidae): recognition of L. miopus (Günther, 1867). Zootaxa 4317: 111–133.

Two new species of Carlia from the Kimberley. A morphological and molecular appraisal of Carlia johnstonei and C. tricantha found evidence for a cryptic species within each of these taxa. Carlia insularis sp. nov. occurs on islands in the north-west Kimberley and was formerly assigned to C. johnstonei. Carlia isotricantha  

Afonso Silva, A.C., Santos, N., Ogilvie, H.A. & Moritz, C. (2017). Validation and description of two new north-western Australian Rainbow skinks with multispecies coalescent methods and morphology. PeerJ 5: e3724.

Revision of Anilios leptosoma. Based on morphological and molecular evidence the Anilios leptosoma species complex was revised. Genetic evidence revealed three divergent lineages within A. leptosoma with morphological support for the recognition of two new species. Anilios leptosoma was redescribed with two new species described: A. systenos from the Geraldton area northeast to Mullewa and A. obtusifrons known only from few specimens collected from the coast between Kalbarri and Gregory. Anilios leptosoma is now known to occur from Northampton to Wooramel and inland to Meeberrie Station.

Ellis, R.J., Doughty, P., Donnellan, S.C., Marin, J. and Vidal, N. (2017). Worms in the sand: systematic revision of the Australian blindsnake Anilios leptosoma (Robb, 1972) species complex (Squamata: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae) from the Geraldton Sandplain, with description of two new species. Zootaxa 4323: 1–24.



Since 2016, two species have been added to the WA State checklist viz. Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta and White-necked Petrel Pterodroma cervicalis. Also the generic name of the two turtle-doves has changed from Streptopelia to Spilopelia.

Noteworthy is the addition of the first checklist of the birds of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands based on museum collections, photographs and detailed descriptions from field observations.



Revision of species status of the Dingo (Canis dingo).

A review of the genetics, morphology, behaviour and reproduction in the Dingo (Canis dingo) has discussed the current species status and recommended that based on the data currently available, the Dingo cannot be a distinct species, and should be synonymised with dogs, as Canis familiaris.

Jackson, S.M., Groves, C.P., Fleming, P.J.S., Aplin, K.P., Eldridge, M.D.B., Gonzales, A. and Helgen, K.M. (2017). The Wayward Dog: Is the Australian native dog or Dingo a distinct species? Zootaxa 4317: 201–224.


Update - 11 August 2016

New Kimberley Blindsnake and notes on Anilios taxonomy.A new blindsnake, Anilios zonula was described from the west Kimberley based on only two specimens, one of which was recently collected from DPaW’s Kimberley Islands Survey. This brings the total of the little-seen Australian blindsnakes to 45 species, with most of the diversity in Western Australia. 

In addition, until further morphological and molecular studies are undertaken to clarify their status, A. nigricaudus is maintained as the junior synonym of A. guentheri, and A. nigroterminatus as a junior synonym of A. grypus

Ellis, R.J. (2016). A new species of Blindsnake (Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae: Anilios) from the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. Herpetologica 72: 271–278.


Changes from the WA Museum Checklist 2015 (updated August 2016)

Reptiles and frogs

(compiled by P. Doughty, R. Ellis and R. Bray)

Description and redescription of gecko species. Two papers changed the taxonomy of Oedura and Gehyra geckos. Oedura fimbria was described for Pilbara and Gascoyne large-bodied marbled velvet geckos, removing the name O. marmorata from Western Australia (this species complex is restricted to the Top End of the Northern Territory). Another new species from the Gulf Country (but not in WA) was also described: O. bella.

In addition, G. kimberleyi was redescribed for northern populations formerly assigned to G. pilbara, and G. girloorloo was described as a new species that occurs on ranges in the southern Kimberley.

Oliver, P.M. and Doughty, P. (2016). Systematic revision of the marbled velvet geckos (Oedura marmorata species complex, Diplodactylidae) from the Australian arid and semi-arid zones. Zootaxa 4088: 151–176.

Oliver, P.M., Bourke, G., Pratt, R.C., Doughty, P. and Moritz, C. (2016). Systematics of small Gehyra (Squamata: Gekkonidae) of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia: redescription of G. kimberleyi and description of a new restricted range species. Zootaxa 4107: 49–64.

Generic reallocation of ‘Amphibolurus’ longirostris and ‘A.’ gilberti. These species were formerly allocated to Amphibolurus, an older name to which many Australian agamids were assigned as conservative holding pattern. Owing to the publication of Melville et al. (2011), some field guides have acted on some of the arrangements, but this has been inconsistent. However, allocation of ‘A’. longirostris to Gowidon and ‘A.’ gilberti to Lophognathus stabilizes the overall taxonomy better for now. Amphibolurus norrisi remains unchanged. Further generic rearrangements are eminent, so we view this as a holding pattern for the next few years before the taxonomic revision of the Australian tree dragons (J. Melville, pers. comm.).

Melville, J., Ritchie, E.G., Chapple, S.N.J., Glor, R.E. and Schulte, J.A., II. (2011). Evolutionary origins and diversification of dragon lizards in Australia’s tropical savannas. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 58: 257–270.

Revision of the Tympanocryptis cephalus species complex. This group was revised following the results of a detailed molecular study. Tympanocryptis cephalus was redescribed and restricted to the coastal Pilbara region and T. gigas was redescribed from a small number of specimens in the Gascoyne region and a neotype nominated. Three new species were described: T. diabolicus and T. fortescuensis from the Hamersley Range and northern Pilbara, respectively, and T. pseudopsephos from the western Goldfields.

Doughty, P., Kealley, L., Shoo, L.P. and Melville, J. (2015). Revision of the Australian Pebble-mimic Dragons (Tympanocryptis cephalus: Reptilia: Agamidae) species-group. Zootaxa 4039: 85–117.

Reversal: changes to the families of skinks. Following most international herpetological groups, we reverted the family names of skinks so all are Scincidae. This reverses Hedges’s (2014) erection of many families of skinks.

Hedges, S.B. (2014). The high-level classification of skinks (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincomorpha). Zootaxa 3765: 317–338.

Change of python family name. We follow previous workers in recognizing Australian pythons as belonging to Pythonidae, not Boidae. This was a simple omission on our part. See previous ‘Changes to checklist’ for references.

New Kimberley Death Adder. The former name of Acanthophis praelongus, which ranged across most of northern Australia, has been changed for Kimberley populations to A. cryptamydros. This resulted from genetic analyses showing the Kimberley taxon to be more closely related to A. pyrrhus and A. wellsi than other taxa from the Northern Territory.

Maddock, S.T., Ellis, R.J., Smith, L.A., Doughty, P. and Wüster, W. (2015). A new species of death adder (Acanthophis: Serpentes: Elapidae) from north-western Australia. Zootaxa 4007: 301–326.

Synonomy of Delma haroldi with D. butleri. We follow the earlier synonomy of Shea (1991), based on further molecular genetic evidence from Brennan et al. (2016). Thus, D. haroldi has been removed from the checklist.

Shea, G.M. (1991). Revisionary notes on the genus Delma (Squamata: Pygopodidae) in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Records of the South Australian Museum 25: 71–90.

Brennan et al. (2016). Mitochondrial introgression via ancient hybridization, and systematics of the Australian endemic pygopodid gecko genus Delma. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 94: 577–590.

New name for western water-holding frogs. The western population of Cyclorana platycephala was recently described as a new species, C. occidentalis, based on morphological and molecular genetic differences. Cyclorana platycephala occurs in the eastern states and does not occur in Western Australia.

Anstis, M., Price, L.C., Roberts, J.D., Catalano, S.R., Hines, H.B., Doughty, P. and Donnellan, S.C. (2016). Revision of the water-holding frogs, Cyclorana platycephala (Anura: Hylidae), from arid Australia, including a description of a new species. Zootaxa 4126: 451–479.



(compiled by K. Travouillon)


The spelling of Stenella has been corrected from the incorrect spelling previously used (Stennella). The species name for dogs has been corrected from Canis familiaris to Canis lupus.

Additional of new vernacular name for Arctocephalus forsteri

Shaughnessy and Goldsworthy (2015) proposed a new vernacular name for the New Zealand Fur Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri): Long-nosed Fur Seal. Both are used here.

Shaughnessy, P.D. & Goldsworthy, S.D. (2015). Long-nosed fur seal: A new vernacular name for the fur seal, Arctocephalus forsteri, in Australia. Marine Mammal Science 31: 830–832.Changes from the WA Checklist 2015 (updated October 2015)


WAMuseum-Checklist-Terrestrial-Vertebrates-11.10.2017.xlsx287.1 KB
Checklist-of-Birds-of-WA-August-2017.pdf495.39 KB
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