Endangered: Species of the Central West that are listed as critically endangered | Photos

FOR a nation with some of the most unique species on the planet, many, including in the Central West, are facing extinction.

Earlier this week, the United Nations released a damning report that warned close to one million species around the world were facing extinction.

The report found that of the world's estimated 5.9 million land based species, more than 500,000 have insufficient habitat for long-term survival.

The Central West is far from immune to extinction, with 12 species listed as critically endangered and a further 147 listed as endangered.

The yellow-spotted tree frog, regent honeyeater and squatter pigeon (southern subspecies) are among the critically endangered animals in the region.

Among the plants and shrubs on the same list are the Megalong Valley bottlebrush, duramana fingers orchid and the holly-leaf grevillea.

While the Artesian Springs Ecological Community, which includes Nyngan, Narromine and Tomingley areas, is also listed as critically endangered.

The UN report also stated three native Australian species had become extinct during the past decade and scientists said 17 more could be wiped out in the next 20 years.

Charles Sturt University senior lecturer in environmental education Dr John Rafferty said a new approach to the environment was needed.

"We have to stop looking at a river as just water ... it's an ecological community on its own, it's very very complex, it's more than just a body of water," he said.

Dr Rafferty urged people to not only look at the economic impacts of their decisions, but also the environmental ones.

He said it was now time to consider the moral issues of damage to the environment that was caused by humans.

"We need to ask 'when are we going to change and when are we going to make things better for everyone'," Dr Rafferty said.

"How do we make things better for the environment and us who look after it."

Critically endangered in the Central West

*Information from the NSW Officer of Environment and Heritage

Megalong Valley Bottlebrush

  • Plant - shrub
  • A bottlebrush shrub to 4.5m with narrow 30-45 mm leaves. Flowers in spikes of 40-50, 35 mm wide, with pinky purple stamens. Fruit 5 mm long. Correct identification of this species is largely reliant on it being in flower and it may be easily mistaken for the locally common species Callistemon citrinus.

Scrub Turpentine

  • Plant - shrub
  • Shrub or small tree to 25 m high with reddish/brown, fissured bark. Young stems densely covered in fine hairs. Leaves 5-10 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, upper surface green and sparsely hairy, lower surface paler and sparsely to densely hairy. Leaves strongly 3-veined from base with moderately dense, translucent oil dots. Petiole 4-9 mm long. Inflorescences 1-3 per axil, usually 3-flowered with petals 4-6 mm diam. and white. Fruit globose, 5-8 mm diam., red turning black.

Yellow-spotted Tree Frog

  • Animal - amphibians
  • The bell frogs are large, long-lived and mostly aquatic tree frogs, with only small finger and toe pads. The Yellow-spotted Bell Frog is distinguished from other members of the group by its fully webbed toes and yellow spots on the groin and the back of the thighs. Elsewhere it is marbled green and gold, with black spots. This patterning varies greatly, but the pale green mid-back stripe is unvarying. The larger females may be up 9cm long. The call is a series of loud, droning grunts, like a distant motorbike. The tadpoles are large, growing to about 8cm long with a pinkish-grey body and yellowish fins.

Regent Honeyeater

  • Animal - bird
  • The Regent Honeyeater is a striking and distinctive, medium-sized, black and yellow honeyeater with a sturdy, curved bill. Adults weigh 35 - 50 grams, are 20 - 24 cm long and have a wings-pan of 30 cm. Its head, neck, throat, upper breast and bill are black and the back and lower breast are pale lemon in colour with a black scalloped pattern. Its flight and tail feathers are edged with bright yellow. There is a characteristic patch of dark pink or cream-coloured facial-skin around the eye. Sexes are similar, though males are larger, darker and have larger patch of bare facial-skin. The call is a soft metallic bell-like song; birds are most vocal in non-breeding season. It has recently been placed in the genus Anthochaera along with the wattlebirds, and was formerly known by the name Xanthomyza phrygia.

Duramana Fingers

  • Plant - orchard
  • Caladenia attenuata is an unusually tall terrestrial orchid, to 24cm high with white flowers, usually 10mm across. The dorsal sepal (back flower part) is lax, hooding the column; and the midlobe of the labellum (distinctive median petal) has entire wrinkled margins. The orchid flowers in spring, usually between October and November.

Prostanthera gilesii

  • Plant - shrub
  • A small, compact, spreading shrub, up to 1 m high growing as a tangle of individual plants. Leaves are 15-25 mm long, 5-10 mm wide, dark green and glossy, with a paler lower surface. Flowers are 12-15 mm long, white to yellowish-white with purple to dark mauve markings on the inner surface of the tube.

Bossiaea fragrans

  • Plant - shrub
  • An erect shrub that grows to 1-2.5m high. The cladodes (stems with foliage leaves reduced or absent) are flattened, glaucous green and range from 8-14mm wide. Leaf scales are present and ranging from 1.5-1.9mm long. The flowers, which can be seen from September through to October, are yellow with red markings, except for the keel (the pair of petals beneath the flower) which is dark red. The pods are oblong in shape.

Euphrasia arguta

  • Plant - herbs and forbs
  • Euphrasia arguta is an erect annual herb ranging in height from 20-35 cm. Collectively, the Euphrasia are commonly known as 'eyebrights'. Its branches are densely covered with stiff hairs and the leaf margins usually have 2-4 pairs of teeth. The flowers vary in colour from white to lilac with yellow, and are borne on flower spikes of 50 to 90 flowers.

Holly-leaf Grevillea

  • Plants - shurbs
  • The holly-leaf grevillea is a small to medium spreading to erect shrub. The flowers are born in short one sided heads 2-5 cm long. The perianth (the outer envelope of the flower) is pale green to grey in colour. The pistil is 19-25 mm long and either red, or rarely pink, orange,or pale yellow. The leaves are roughly kite-shaped 2-7 cm long and 0.8-3.5 cm wide.

Squatter pigeon (southern subspecies)

  • Animal - birds
  • Squatter pigeons are medium-sized ground-dwelling pigeons. They are brown with black and white markings on the face and a blue-grey breast bordered below by a white 'V'. The mottled brown wings have a metallic green and purple patch.

Artesian Springs Ecological Community in the Great Artesian Basin

  • Community - threatened ecological communities
  • Naturally restricted to the artesian springs of the Great Artesian Basin in north-western NSW. The springs occur where artesian water emerges at the surface through fault-lines in the overlying rock and produce mounds from the salts and sediments as the water evaporates. The vegetation within the community frequently consists of sedges or similar vegetation, however, trees and shrubs may be adjacent to the springs or nearby.

Mallee and Mallee-Broombush dominated woodland and shrubland, lacking Triodia, in the NSW South Western Slopes Bioregion

  • Community - threatened ecological communities
  • Mallee and Mallee-Broombush dominated woodland and shrubland, lacking Triodia, in the NSW South Western Slopes Bioregion varies in structure from tall mallee woodland with an open to mid-dense shrub layer and ground cover (sparseness perhaps an artifact of grazing history), to open or very dense mallee shrubland, with or without Broombush (Melaleuca uncinata). Three variants have been described (Benson 2008) as distinct communities, based largely on canopy composition and their tendency to occur on somewhat different landforms. These are 'ID 355: Bull Mallee-White Mallee tall mallee woodland on red sandy loam soils in the central western slopes of NSW'; 'ID 177: Blue Mallee-Bull Mallee-Green Mallee very tall mallee shrubland of the West Wyalong region, NSW South Western Slopes Bioregion', and 'ID 178: Broombush-Green Mallee-Blue Mallee very tall shrubland on stony rises in the NSW South Western Slopes Bioregion'. Benson noted however that these units do intergrade. The floristic composition of shrub layer and ground cover varies widely within, and overlaps between, the variants and the variability in the density and floristic composition of the shrub and ground layers may be partly a consequence of grazing history.