There are over 10 000 known invertebrate species in Tasmania. Invertebrates are animals who do not have a backbone, and Tasmania has an unusually high proportion of species that are endemic - known to exist only in Tasmania. Nearly half of the invertebrate species found within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, are found nowhere else on Earth.
Many well known groups of invertebrates have a high proportion of species restricted to Tasmania, such as 92% of the island's terrestrial oligochaetes (earthworms), 92% of its syncarids (mountain shrimps), 93% of its terrestrial amphipods (landhoppers), 88% of its freshwater crayfish, 89% of its stoneflies, 70% of its caddis-flies and 93% of its carabid beetles. There are also many groups where the largest or most spectacular examples occur in Tasmania, such as springtails, stoneflies, and the impressive freshwater crayfish.
Many species have greatly restricted ranges, such as the blind velvet worm, while others occupy remarkably narrow niches, such as the pandani moth which feeds soley within the fronds of the endemic pandani, the world's tallest heath plant.
Invertebrates form an integral part of Tasmania's ecological systems, but the majority of the State's invertebrate species remain undescribed or undiscovered, with little or nothing known about their ecology.
What to see
There are thousands of invertebrates in Tasmania, here are a few of our favourites:
- Freshwater Burrowing Crayfish (Engaeus spp.)
- Giant Freshwater Crayfish (Astacopsis gouldi)
- Mountain Shrimp (Anaspides spp.)
- Pandani moth
- Pencil pine moth
- Hairy cicada
- Dragonflies and damselflies
- Cave spiders
- Cave harvestmen
- Velvet worms (Peripatus)
Where to see