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Wetland fauna (animals)

Wetland ecosystems contain species that have evolved in a wet environment. Adaptations to an aquatic life are often obvious: fins on fish, webbed feet on frogs and ducks, and waterproof feathers or fur on darters and platypus.

Other adaptations are harder to see, e.g. gills on mayfly larvae and tadpoles tails that disappear as the tadpoles change into frogs; salt glands on the tongues of crocodiles that remove excess salt in brackish conditions.

For more information on fauna species, enter the scientific or common name of a species:

Goorganga, Photo by Nick Cuff

Quick facts

The Fitzroy River Turtle's
cloacal bursa (its bottom) enables it to take up oxygen while submerged (hence the colloquial name ‘bum-breather’).

The degree that fauna are dependent on wetlands ranges from those with complete dependence (yabbies and freshwater fish), to those that exist in other habitats but need wetlands for part of their life cycle, e.g. grey and ornamental snakes hunt in wetlands where they feed on frogs. Some animal species are so reliant on wetlands that evidence of their occurrence can confirm the presence of a wetland, e.g. crustacean exoskeletons or crayfish burrows.

A list of these fauna wetland indicator species is provided to assist in determining whether an area is a wetland.

Flora and fauna data is spatially referenced (using latitudes and longitudes) so it can be viewed and queried spatially using WetlandMaps or WetlandSummary or Wildlife Online.

Additional information

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Last updated: 22 March 2013

This page should be cited as:

Wetland fauna (animals), WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 11 February 2019, <>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science