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EnviroNorth > Gulf Country > Plants and Animals

Plants and animals

Regional overview


Vegetation map of the gulf country shows that eucalypt woodlands with hummockgrasses dominate the Gulf Uplands and Mount Isa Inlier bioregions, whereas grasslands, melaleuca forest and woodland and eucalypt woodland with tussock grasses dominate the Gulf coastal and Gulf plains regions

The Gulf of Carpentaria covers a vast area of the tropical savannas of northern Australia. The region is one of the least understood in terms of the diversity and distribution of plants and animals that live there because of limited number of biological surveys. Burke and Wills were probably the first European naturalists to work in the region, reaching the coast on December 16, 1860, but they did not manage to get home in one piece to write up their results. Nevertheless, a rich biota exists including many species of national significance.

Gulf fauna and flora can be broken into two major types: the inland areas dominated by extensive sandstone ranges and eucalypt woodland (Gulf Uplands and Mount Isa Inlier bioregions), and lowland coastal plains, rivers and seasonal wetlands (Gulf Coastal and Gulf Plain bioregions).

Other important environments in the region are the large offshore islands, Sir Edward Pellew Group, Mornington Island and Wellesly Group, which provide important refuges for many species.

Use the contents links above or click below to read about the region you are interested in:

  • Gulf Uplands and Mount Isa Inlier
  • Gulf coastal and gulf plains
  • Environmental issues