No animal groups are particularly characteristic of
Oceania; however, the spread of the butterfly group
Aglossata is limited to part of this area (Fiji and Vanuatu)
as well as Australia. New Guinea and other large islands NE
of Australia have very rich fauna with Australian and
Oriental relations, see Wallace's line; especially
noteworthy are the two species of ant hedgehogs (see
sewerage animals) found in New Guinea. See also
abbreviations of Australia
and New Zealand on
The species richness of the smaller islands of Oceania
depends to a large extent on whether the islands are of
continental origin or are oceanic without ever having been
connected to the mainland (volcanic and coral islands).
Continental islands are most often species rich and harbor
many endemic species or groups. Oceanic islands are
generally poor in species and usually lack non-flying
vertebrates; however, there may be a significant feature of
endemic invertebrates such as banana flies in Hawaii.
Wildlife in the islands of Oceania is an exemplary
pattern of distribution patterns dictated by isolation and
size (see island biogeography): the more isolated, the fewer
species. The Solomon Islands thus have 127 species of native
land birds, New Caledonia 77, Fiji 54, Samoa 33, the Company
Islands of French Polynesia 17, and Henderson Island at
Pitcairn 1, while Easter Island has none at all.
Wildlife in Australia
Animal Geographical hear Australia to the Australian
region, which also includes New Zealand, New Guinea and the
Pacific islands. Sewage animals, found only in this region,
are represented by two species: mammals and ant swine. They
lay eggs and are considered the most primitive of the
The marsupials, which are otherwise only found in
America, are the dominant mammals in Australia. They
comprise about 160 species distributed among a number of
families, including predators, marsupials and purse sharks,
cousins and purse seines, avian grains, kangaroos, koala and
wombats. Many marsupials are small and nocturnal, but some
of the kangaroos, such as the red and gray giant kangaroo,
are the continent's largest and most conspicuous land mammal
The more advanced placental mammals, which dominate the
mammalian fauna in all other continents, are represented in
Australia only by rodents of 69 species, bats with twelve
species of large and 64 species of small bats, seals with
ten species in the south, the sea cow dugong in the north
and whales, where 44 of the world's 80 species are
registered in Australian waters. The dingo is a wild dog
that probably came to Australia with the native inhabitants.
The Europeans introduced, among other things, rabbit and
fox, to the detriment of the agricultural industry and the
often defenseless marsupials respectively. In recent years,
the authorities have gained some control over the growing
rabbit population through fencing, traps, toxic bait and
especially the viral disease myxomatosis.
At least 600 of the more than 780 bird species observed
in Australia breed here. Most are native birds, but some,
including cuckoo, spend the cold season in New Guinea. The
ostrich- like emu is found throughout most of Australia
except for Tasmania and densely populated areas. Among
Australia's most well-known and beloved birds is the
Laughing Coca-Burr, formerly known as the Laughing Bird,
which is a giant iceberg. Furthermore, the tails, known as
the best imitators of the bird world, as well as the black
swan, whistleblower and park cutter.
The honeybees are found in all kinds of biotopes, and
many of the 65 species play an important role in pollination
and seed dispersal in the local flora. Australia has more
than 50 species of parrot birds, including yellow cockatoo,
rose cockatoo, nymph cockatoo, formerly known as nymph
parakeet, rainbow laurel, budgerigar and rosella. The
well-known zebra cage bird is also of Australian origin.
The delta crocodile can be over six meters long and is
Australia's largest reptile. It is most common along the
coast in the north, but can swim up into the rivers and
sometimes kill people. The significantly smaller Australian
crocodile is harmless. Among the more than 350 lizard
species, there are many bizarre forms, including the
collagen, the molo and the varanas, popularly called
Australia has 110 species of snakes, of which a
considerable proportion are dangerous to humans. Eight or
nine of the world's ten most poisonous snake species live in
Australia. The tiger snake, brown snakes, death snake and
taipan are especially feared.
There are at least 120 frog species in Australia, but no
salamanders - and the only toad, the agapad, is imported
from America. It can be 20 cm long and is so toxic that
birds and marsupials that eat it often have to cope with
The insect fauna comprises more than 80,000 species. Many
of the around 4000 ant species are very aggressive, such as
"bull ants" and "jumper ants". Termites are also numerous.
The termite mounds can be several meters high and are a
characteristic part of the landscape of the plains in the
The spider fauna is not as well studied as the insects,
but poisonous tunnel spiders and black widows are well known
and feared. Of other toxic animals, mention should be made
of cube jellyfish or sea wasps, which have caused
death among bathers.
3400 species of fish, about 25 per cent of all the
world's saltwater fish, occur in Australian waters.
Cook Islands yearbook 2009
Cook Islands. In April, the Cook Islands government turned to the special UN
Commission CLCS to expand the region's internationally recognized continental
shelf by 400,000 km². The seabed around the islands is believed to be rich in
minerals, especially manganese (brownstone). In July, Prime Minister Jim Marurai
dismissed his Foreign Minister Wilkie Rasmussen and took over the post himself.
Later in the month the post went on to Sir Terepai Maoate.
In November, Cook Islands High Commissioner Tia Barrett passed away. Nicola
Ngawati was appointed new Deputy High Commissioner the same month. The
turbulence in the Cook Islands political leadership continued in December when
Sir Terepai Maoate was suddenly fired from his posts as Finance, Foreign and
Deputy Prime Minister. Robert Wigmore was appointed new Deputy Prime Minister,
while Prime Minister Marurai himself took over as Foreign and Finance Minister.
Three other ministers resigned in protest against the dismissal of Maoate.
Cook Islands yearbook 2007
Cook Islands. The World Health Organization WHO came in February with a
report showing that the Pacific region has the fattest population in the world.
Among the ten fattest populations in the world, eight were found in the South
Sea. C. ended up in the absolute top tier, with 90 percent of residents being
overweight or obese. The fattest nation was Nauru with 94 percent overweight or
obese among the residents.
Too much imported fast food and too little exercise are the main causes of
the obesity epidemic in the South Sea according to WHO, which warned of health
risks such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Cook Islands yearbook 2006
Cook Islands. When the ruling Democratic Party (DP) lost a parliamentary
mandate in a June general election, the C government announced a new election.
The election was held in September and won by DP, which received fourteen seats
against nine seats for the opposition Cook Islands Party (CIP). DP could thus
continue to govern the country with renewed confidence.
Cook Islands yearbook 2005
Cook Islands. During four weeks in February – March, four powerful cyclones
swept over C., causing major material damage. In the spring, C. was removed from
the international list of territories that have too weak laws against
international money laundering. In September, government cooperation broke out
between the two large parties of the territory, Cook Islands First (CIF) and
Cook Islands Party (CIP). CIP ministers were replaced by members of Prime
Minister Jim Marurai's own party CIF.