Wildlife of Sri Lanka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Wildlife of Sri Lanka includes its flora and fauna and their natural habitats. Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates of biological endemism (16% of the fauna and 23% of flowering plants are endemic[1]) in the world.

Ecological zones[edit]

The mountains and the southwestern part of the country, known as the "wet zone," receive ample rainfall (an annual average of 2500 millimeters). Most of the southeast, east, and northern parts of the country comprise the "dry zone, which receives between 1200 and 1900 mm of rain annually.


Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), one of the three recognized subspecies of Asian elephant, which is the largest of them all.


Sri Lanka is home to roughly 123 species of mammals, 41 of which are threatened (9 critically). 16 of the species are endemic, of which 14 are threatened,[2] including the large sloth bear. mammalian orders), with 30 different species. Sri Lanka's surrounding waters are home to 28 species of Cetaceans.


Sri Lanka currently contains 173 species of reptiles, of which 56 are threatened and 103 are endemic. Most of the reptiles are snakes and the largest are two species of crocodile, the mugger crocodile and saltwater crocodile.[2]

Chrysopelea taprobanica - once endemic, but now found in India as well
Taruga eques - an endemic species of amphibian


Sri Lanka has one of the richest diversity of amphibians in the world, containing over 140 species of amphibians up to 2015, with 109 endemic species.[2] and has been claimed to have the highest amphibian species density in the world[3] though that has been challenged.[4] 52 species of amphibians in Sri Lanka are threatened, all but one of which are endemic.


The national bird, Sri Lanka junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii) is endemic.

Sri Lanka is home to 227 species of birds (though some past estimates put it as high as 486[5]), 46 of which are threatened (10 critically).[2]


Cherry barb (puntius titteya) is a tropical fish which is native to Sri Lanka, but introduced populations are established in Mexico and Colombia.

Sri Lanka contains 93 species of freshwater fish, and 50 of which are endemic to the country. 28 species are categorized as threatened by IUCN.[2] There are 8 species of brackish water fish that also come to freshwater, and 24 introduced exotic fish species.


Albino cockroach, belongs to Blattodea

Insects belonging to all 32 orders except Grylloblattodea have been recorded from the Sri Lanka.

Minor insects[edit]

The exact species for other orders is still not classified and documented. Walker on 1861, listed 2,007 species belongs to 9 insect orders and Haly on 1890 identified 1,510 beetle species from Sri Lanka. However, after series of many publications from many foreign entomologists, Two Sri Lankan entomologists, Anura Wijesekara and D.P Wijesinghe precisely documented 11,144 insect species belongs to 30 orders from Sri Lanka in 2003.[6][7]

Hubbard and co-workers documented 46 species in 8 families of order Ephemeroptera. Henneman in 2002 recorded 69 species in order Orthoptera. He also collected few specimen of order Phasmatodea around central hills. 66 species of order Blattodea are found, but not taxonomic evidences. Few species of the order Mantodea were studies by Henry in 1931. Clear documentation of the species within Dermaptera can be found, which was initiated by Burr (1901) and Brindle (1972). Within the termite superorder Isoptera, 56 species recorded. In 1913, Green compiled a concise catalogue for isopterans in Sri Lanka.[7]

Only 4 species of order Embioptera are recorded. in the order Psocoptera, two subfamilies studied. They are Epipsocidae and Pseudocaeciliidae. Informations of the species of the orders Thysanoptera, Neuroptera, Mecoptera, and Siphonaptera are very few and more studies are required. Only the family Coniopterygidae of Neuroptera have been studied in 1982.[7]

Sri Lanka is known to home for 794 species of Hemipterans. Detailed work of Sri Lankan hemipterans are recorded in book "Catalogue of Hemiptera of Sri Lanka. Checklists on orders Trichoptera and Strepsiptera are well documented, but recent work is needed.[7]

Major insects[edit]

True flies and mosquitoes belongs to order Diptera is much highly recorded from Sri Lanka. There are more than 1,341 dipterans found in the island, which earns fourth largest insect order found.[7]

Hymenopterans, which includes ants, bees, wasps contribute to the third largest insect order in Sri Lanka. Lepidopterans, the moths and butterflies has the second largest number of species in Sri Lanka. Coleoptera, which is the largest order in whole insect world, also the largest in Sri Lanka, contribute with 3,033 documented species.[7]


There are about 70,000 species of bees of order Hymenoptera described in the world with nearly 450 genera and 7 families. Out of them, Sri Lanka comprises 148 species included to 38 genera and 4 families.


Damselflies categorized in to Suborder: Zygoptera; and dragonflies into Suborder: Anisoptera. There are 121 described species within 13 families can be found in Sri Lanka. 59 species from them are endemic.


245 butterflies species are recorded from Sri Lanka of which 24 are endemic to the island. 1695 species are moths are also found, but the endemism is not known.


Sri Lanka comprises 74 species in 46 genera and 6 families of aphids within order Hemiptera. 2 endemic aphid species found on Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka is home to 181 species of ants that included to 61 genera and 10 subfamilies. One endemic genus Aneuretus is also included to the list.


Freshwater crabs[edit]

All recorded 51 species along with 5 genera are totally endemic to Sri Lanka. 98% of those crabs are IUCN categorized as threatened, endangered or critically endangered animals.

Mangrove crabs[edit]

The exact number of species around mangroves and estuaries within coastal marine regions is not clear. but during a research on diversity of mangrove crabs in Kadolkele, Negombo, five species identified, with two new species earlier not document from Sri Lanka.[8] Most marine crabs are much larger and often caught in fishing nets. The are edible foods with high protein. Some of marine edible crabs from Sri Lanka are[9]


There is known over 246 land gastropods of Sri Lanka.[10][11] Fauna of Sri Lanka also include freshwater snails. The number of marine molluscs of Sri Lanka is not known and there is about 240 species listed meantime in 2006.[12]



There are 8 species of tarantulas are recorded from Sri Lanka. When considering with Indian subcontinent, 15 species of Poecilotheria are recorded from both countries; seven endemics from India and seven endemics from Sri Lanka. One species found in both countries.



There are 18 species of scorpions which are found in Sri Lanka. Out of these 18 species, 7 species are endemic to Sri Lanka. In addition to the endemic species, 4 subspecies of the 9 non-endemic species are also endemic to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan scorpions are included in 3 families.

  1. Family Buthidae
  2. Family Chaerilidae
  3. Family Scorpionidae


Maha rath mala (Rhododendron arboreum ssp. zeylanicum) is a rare sub-species of Rhododendron arboreum found in Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.

Diversity and endemism of plants in Sri Lanka are quite high.[13] There are 3,210 flowering plants belonging to 1,052 genera. 916 species and 18 genera are endemic to the island. Additionally, all but one of the island’s more than 55 dipterocarps are confined to Sri Lanka. Although not lately assessed, Sri Lanka’s ferns are estimated at about 350 species. Diversity, richness, and endemism across all taxa groups are much higher in the wet zone than in the dry zone. Wet zone, which accounts for only a quarter of Sri Lanka’s land area, harbours 88 percent of the flowering plants, and 95 percent of country's flowering plant endemics. The natural forests of Sri Lanka are categorized into eight types.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biological diversity of Sri Lanka". Young Biologist Association, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e The Red List of Threatened Fauan and Flora of Sri Lanka (PDF). Colombo, Sri Lanka: The World Conservation Union (IUCN). 2007. p. 166. ISBN 978-955 -8177 -63-1. Retrieved 12-09-2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ Pethiyagoda, Rohan; Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi (November 1998). "Evaluating Sri Lanka’s amphibian diversity". Occasional papers of Wildlife Heritage Trust of Sri Lanka 2. Retrieved 12-09-09.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ Chaitra,, M. S.; Karthikeyan Vasudevan; Kartik Shanker (10-04-04). "The biodiversity bandwagon: the splitters have it" (PDF). Current Science 86 (7): 3. Retrieved 12-09-09.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  5. ^ Kotagama, Sarath W.; Rex I. De Silva; Athula S. Wijayasinha; Vathsala Abeygunawardane (2006). "Avifaunal List of Sri Lanka". Colombo, Sri Lanka: IUCN. ISBN 978-955-8177-51-8. 
  6. ^ Anura Wijesekara1 et D. P. Wijesinghe, « History of insect collection and a review of insect diversity in Sri Lanka », Cey. J. Sci. (Bio.Sci.), vol. 31, 2003, p. 43-59 pdf
  7. ^ a b c d e f Bambaradeniya, Channa N. B. "The Fauna of Sri Lanka: Status of Taxonomy, Research, and Conservation". Amazon.com. Google books. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Priyadarshani, S.H.R. "Diversity of mangrove crabs in Kadolkele, Negombo Estuary, Sri Lanka" (PDF). slafar. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "The status of Diversity and Species Composition of Crabs in Navanthurai Coastal Area in Jaffna Peninsula of Sri Lanka" (PDF). Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Naggs F., Raheem D. C., Mordan P. B., Grimm B., Ranawana K. B. & Kumburegama N. P. S. (2003). "Ancient relicts and contemporary exotics: faunal change and survivorship in Sri Lanka’s snail fauna". Slugs & Snails: Agricultural, Veterinary & Environmental Perspectives, British Crop Protection Council Symposium Proceedings No. 80, 103 - 108.
  11. ^ Ranawana K. B. (2006) "Land Snails in Sri Lanka". In: Bambaradeniya C. N. B. The Fauna of Sri Lanka: Status of Taxonomy, Research and Conservation. The World Conservation Union, Colombo, Sri Lanka & Government of Sri Lanka. 84-99. ISBN 955-8177-51-2.
  12. ^ de Silva D. (2006) "Current Status of Taxonomy and Ecology of Marine Molluscs in Sri Lanka". In: Bambaradeniya C. N. B. The Fauna of Sri Lanka: Status of Taxonomy, Research and Conservation. The World Conservation Union, Colombo, Sri Lanka & Government of Sri Lanka. 84-99. ISBN 955-8177-51-2.
  13. ^ "Unique and threatened biodiversity". biodiversityhotspots.org. Conservation International. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  14. ^ "Forest Resources". Forest resources of Sri Lanka Country report. Food and Agriculture Organization. Rome, 2001. Retrieved 2009-09-15.  Check date values in: |date= (help)


  • Channa N. B. Bambaradeniya, ed. (2006). Fauna of Sri Lanka: Status of Taxonomy, Research and Conservation. Colombo, Sri Lanka: The World Convservation Union (IUCN). p. 308. ISBN 955-8177-51-2. 
  • Herat, T. R. Somaratna, S & Pradeepa, 1998, Common Vegetables of Sri Lanka. NARESA, Sri Lanka.
  • Herat, T. R. 2005. Tentative Keys to the Families & Genera of Pteridophytes of Sri Lanka. Author Publisher.
  • Herat, T. R. P. Ratnayake. 2005 An Illustrated Guide to the Fern Flora of Knuckles Conservation Area Sri Lanka. Author Publisher.
  • Herat, T. R. 2005. Endemic Flowering Plants, Part I A Checklist & an Index to A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon. Author Publisher.
  • Herat, T. R. 2007. Endemic Flowering Plants of Sri Lanka Part II A, Index to the Distribution of Plants with Localities. Environmental Ministry Colombo.
  • Herat, T. R. 2007 Endemic Flowering Plants of Sri Lanka Part II B, Index to the Distribution within Agro Ecological Zones. Environmental Ministry Colombo.
  • Herat, T. R. A. U. Herat, 2008. Index to the Distribution of Ferns & Fern-Allies within the Administrative Districts of Sri Lanka. Author Publisher.
  • Herat, T. R. 2009. YS%, dxlSh imqIaml Ydl i|yd jQ isxy, fmdoq kdu iQpsh’ Author Publisher.

External links[edit]