Department of Environment and Conservation

What species are there in Vanuatu?

Published: Wednesday, 19 November 2014 20:32
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What species of flora are there in Vanuatu?

Plants -There around 1000 vascular plants of which 150 are endemic and, 700 species of bryophytes with:

  • 158 species of orchids, including 7 endemics.
  • 21 species of palm trees, including one endemic monospecific genus (Carpoxylon macrospermum a palm tree and 14 endemic species, 11 of which are rare or vulnerable.
  • 12 species of araceae, including 8 endemics.
  • around 250 species of pterophytes.


What species of fauna are there in Vanuatu?

Invertebrates - Many species probably remain to be discovered and species discovered thus far include:

  • 80 species of butterfly, including 5 endemics.
  • 12 species of bees including 7 endemics.
  • 12 species of ants and termites.
  • over 200 species of flies.
  • The number of discovered Coleoptera remains unknown.
  • 73 species of land snails.
  • 22 species of earthworms.
  • One of the best known invertebrate in Vanuatu is the coconut crab (Birgus latro). While the crab is not endemic, Vanuatu's population remains large enough to allow harvesting, and coconut crab is a gourmet dish in many restaurants. Measures are taken today to better control harvesting of this species which is endangered elsewhere in the Pacific.

Birds- There is a repertoire of 121 species, some of which are rare or vulnerable, including:

  • Green Palm Lorikeet (Charmosyna palmarum), Vanuatu Mountain Pigeon (Ducula bakeri), Pacific Imperial Pigeon (Ducula pacifica), Royal Parrotfinch (Erythrura cyaneovirens, Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus, Santa Cruz Ground Dove (Gallicolumba sanctaecrucis) and the Incubator Bird (megapodius Freycinet).
  • 74 species are land and freshwater birds.
  • 32 species are sea-birds of which few are resident.
  • 15 species are shore-birds.
  • 7 of these species are endemic.

Reptiles and Amphibians- A repertoire of around 30 species has being made, including:

  • 19 species of lizards, 4 are endemic and one species near extinction was introduced from Fiji (Green Banded Iguana Brachylophus fasciatus).
  • 2 species of snake (Pacific Boa Candoia bibroni), one was introduced; sighting of others.
  • 4 species of sea turtles all endangered worldwide (Green turtle Chelonia mydas, Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata, Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta and Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea.
  • 1 species of saltwater crocodile (Crocodylis porosus).
  • 2 species of sea snake Pelamis platurus and Laticauda sp.
  • 2 introduced species of frog.

Mammals-There are 12 species of chiropterae (Flying Foxes and Bats) which represent the only native mammals with one endemic species and, a range of itnroduced mammals that include:

  • 4 species of flying foxes (Pteropus sp.), all endemic.
  • 8 other bats species (microchiroptera), 2 endemic of which the Nendo tube-nosed bat (Nyctimene santacrucis) is presumed to be extinct.
  • All other mammal species have been introduced being rats (Rattus exulans, Rattus norvegicus, and Rattus vattus), mice (Mus musculus), feral cattle (Bos Taurus), feral goat (Capra hircus), feral pig (Sus scrofa), feral cats and dogs.


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