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Endemism

Species unique to a location or habitat / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Endemism is the state of a species being found in a single defined geographic location, such as an island, state, nation, country or other defined zone; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere.[1] For example, the Cape sugarbird is found exclusively in southwestern South Africa and is therefore said to be endemic to that particular part of the world.[2]

Both the orange-breasted sunbird (Anthobaphes violacea) and the Kniphofia uvaria plant it feeds on are both found exclusively in South Africa.
Bicolored frog (Clinotarsus curtipes) is endemic to the Western Ghats of India.
Montezuma Well in the Verde Valley of Arizona contains at least five endemic species found exclusively in the sinkhole.

An endemic species can be also be referred to as an endemism or in scientific literature as an endemite. For example Cytisus aeolicus is an endemite of the Italian flora.[3] Adzharia renschi was once believed to be an endemite of the Caucasus, but it was later discovered to be a non-indigenous species from South America belonging to a different genus.[4]

The extreme opposite of an endemic species is one with a cosmopolitan distribution, having a global or widespread range.[1]

A rare alternative term for a species that is endemic is "precinctive", which applies to species (and other taxonomic levels) that are restricted to a defined geographical area.[5] Other terms that sometimes are used interchangeably, but less often, include autochthonal, autochthonic, and indigenous, however these terms do not reflect the status of a species that specifically belongs only to a determined place.