Invertebrates of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area

Beetle on Leatherwood flower - Pseudolycus haemorrhoidalis
Beetle (Pseudolycus haemorrhoidalis)
on leatherwood flower
Copyright: Michael Driessen


Invertebrates are the most diverse group of organisms in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) and contribute substantially to the world heritage faunal values of the area. They provide a detailed record of the processes of continental drift and climate change that have shaped the western half of Tasmania including fauna with distributions indicating they are relicts of the super-continent Gondwana and before that, Pangaea.

The invertebrate fauna of the TWWHA is characterised by very high levels of species that are endemic to Tasmania (46.7% of species only found in Tasmania), a high proportion of species with a predominantly western-Tasmanian distribution, and numerous species with a restricted geographical range.

The TWWHA provides protected habitat for 16 rare and threatened species. The high level of protection afforded the TWWHA makes the area important for long-term invertebrate fauna management in Tasmania.

Since the TWWHA was listed in 1982, a more comprehensive understanding of its invertebrate fauna has been established through surveys and publications. Yet the vast majority of invertebrate species remain undescribed with little known about their ecology.

An inventory of described species has been compiled to:

  • consolidate and summarise the current knowledge base
  • highlight information gaps
  • identify future survey priorities
  • monitor the effectiveness of TWWHA fauna management
A total of 1397 non-marine invertebrates from 293 families in nine phyla are listed as occurring in the TWWHA. The most diverse Phylum is the Uniramia (904 species, 172 families), followed by the Chelicerata (179 species, 56 families), Aschelminthes (Rotifera: 90 species, 22 families), Crustacea (88 species, 21 families), Mollusca (69 species, 14 families), Annelida (57 species, 5 families), Platyhelminthes (8 species, 1 family), and the Onychophora and Nemertea (1 species each).

Only 63 marine species from six phyla are currently listed as occurring in the limited area of marine habitat within the TWWHA. The outstanding and unique marine invertebrate community in Bathurst Channel contain many undescribed species likely to be restricted to the area.

Details on how the list was compiled and significance of TWWHA invertebrate fauna are contained in the article "An inventory of the invertebrates of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area" by Stephen A. Mallick and Michael M. Driessen published in Pacific Conservation Biology in 2005, volume 11, pages 198-211.

Compiling a list of described species for the TWWHA is an ongoing process. Additions and corrections are welcome and encouraged.

Please see the list of invertebrates recorded from the WHA below:

  WHA Invertebrates Inventory   (133Kb)

Further Reading:

​Mallick, S. A. and Driessen, M. M. (2005). An inventory of the invertebrates of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area​. Pacific Conservation Biology 11: 198–211


WHA Zoologist

Michael Driessen
134 Macquarie Street,
Hobart, TAS, 7000.
Fax: 03 6233 3477