Checklist of the Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna of Western Australia

Departmental resources | Updated 10 months ago

Taxonomic checklist of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna for Western Australia.

Download the latest version of the WA Checklist (2016) [xlsx 265kb] 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 2016 [pdf 586kb] is available to download as a pdf. Please consider the environment before printing.

The changes from the April 2015 checklist [pdf 179kb] and 2014 are documented below and can also be downloaded in pdf format. Previous changes to the checklist (2012-2015) [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 (2016) 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 Tererstrial 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.

Update - 11 August 2016

New Kimberley Blindsnake and revision of the Anilios genera.

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)


WA-Checklist-Vertebrates-2016-11.8.2016.xlsx253.8 KB
WA-Checklist-Vertebrates-2016.xlsx253.42 KB
Checklist-of-Birds-of-WA-August-2016.pdf585.01 KB
Changes-to-WAMuseum-Checklist-August-2016.pdf178.49 KB
Changes to the WA Checklist 2015b (Mammals).pdf92.46 KB
Changes to the WA Checklist 2015.pdf308.67 KB
Changes to the WA Terrestrial Vertebrate checklist, 2012-2014.pdf155.16 KB