Endemic Species – What is it, examples and other species

We explain what an endemic species is and some examples. Also, invasive, native and endangered species.

Endemic species - Dragon tree
It is possible to speak of endemic species of a country or a determined continent.

What is an endemic species?

When speaking of an endemic species, reference is made to those species of animals, plants or other organisms that are typical of a specific geographic region and they cannot naturally be found anywhere in the world outside of it. This applies both for specific places, and for certain types of climate or relief, thus being able to speak of endemic species of a country or a specific continent, but also of a tropical climate or a mountainous relief, for example.

TO this type of relationship between the species and its exclusive environment is known as endemism, and can also be applied to higher or lower taxa such as genera, families or subspecies. It should not, however, be confused with native species.

Endemism is fundamental in the composition of the planet’s biodiversity, since it allows the variety of species and the proliferation of life, and it is also key to the speciation process, that is, the evolution and origin of the different species, as a consequence of their geographical separation and adaptation to specific places and conditions .

Examples of endemic species

Endemic species - Giant sequoia
The giant sequoia is capable of living between 2,000 and 3,000 years.

Some examples of known endemic species are:

  • The dragon tree (Dracaenadraco). A tall tree with rough bark endemic to the Canary Islands (particularly Tenerife) and considered a threatened species. There is a subspecies of this tree endemic to Morocco.
  • The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus). A species of carnivorous mammal endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, and the most threatened feline species in the world.
  • The blue finch of Gran Canaria (Fringilapolatzeki). A bird of the finches family, endemic to the island of Gran Canaria, off the coast of Africa.
  • The giant sequoia (Sequoia sempervirens). Also called red sequoia, it is a species of gigantic trees, capable of living a really long life (between 2,000 and 3,000 years). It is endemic to the Californian Sierra Nevada, in the United States.

Endangered species

Polar bear - endangered species
Polar bears are in danger of extinction.

Extinction is the death of an entire species, that is, to the disappearance of all the individuals that compose it. Therefore, endangered species are those that are at risk of disappearing in the near future, and that are often protected by environmental organizations and international treaties.

Extinction it has occurred en masse on our planet, in what is known as mass extinctions, evidenced in the geological fossil record. They can occur for various reasons: drastic changes in the ecosystem (climatic, chemical, geological, cataclysms, etc.), the emergence (natural or artificial) of a new, more successful species, or human activity (pollution, hunting or indiscriminate logging, etc.).