In this post, it will cover all Vietnam Endemic Wildlife & plant – Last update 10/2022

What is endemic species?

Before focusing on endemic species, let’s look at the definition of endemism. Endemism is a term used in biology to talk about the distribution of a taxon limited to a small geographic area and which can therefore be found naturally in this place. In consequence, endemic species are those that live in a limited area, such as a mountain range, lake or island, among others. Therefore, the ecological aspect of the place and the biological characteristics of the living beings influence this condition.

Endemic species are crucial to the health of our planet because of the enormous variety of living beings they contribute to the environment. In fact, it is no coincidence that megadiverse countries, those that are home to at least 70 % of the planet’s terrestrial biological diversity account for only around 10 % of the surface but are home to a massive number of endemic species.

Endemic species are the most vulnerable of all and, therefore, those in the greatest danger of extinction, which can be due to natural causes or human activity. As well as the consequences of climate change, there are other threats, such as poaching, changing habitats and the introduction of invasive species. What’s more, environmental conservation has become a major standard-bearer for protecting these species.

Vietnam Endemic
The main features of endemic species. Source:

What types of endemism

Endemic species can be classified in two ways, by their geographical distribution or genetics, giving rise to a series of categories:

4ca198ae 4655 2cf1 ea78 1309ac997946?t=1639488518224 WANEE asia  By location

  • Microendemic species: are those established in a limited area.
  • Quasi-endemic: are species that go beyond the limits of their specific zone.
  • Semi-endemic: are species that spend only part of the year in a specific area.

51299cc7 91b6 049e 6f35 75a301b675d4?t=1639488517816 WANEE asia  By genetics

  • Paleo-endemics: are species that eventually form isolated groups due to their morphological, chemical or genetic characteristics.
  • Schizo-endemics: are species formed by gradual isolation but which have similar chromosomic and morphological characteristics.
  • Patro-endemics: are species that emerge due to changes in the number of chromosomes and which colonise more extensive areas than their predecessors.
  • Apo-endemics: these are species that derive from others and which, unlike patro-endemic species, occupy smaller areas than their predecessors.

What is Vietnam endemic species?

Vietnam is included in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot (Biodiversity Hotspots WM). The Annamite Forests (Wonders of the Annamites) are especially notable for endemic species. The Mekong River (ResearchGate) has one of the world’s richest freshwater faunas.

GroupEndemic species
Mammal Species 28
Bird Species9
Reptile Species169
Amphibian Species103
Freshwater Fish Species188
Marine Fish Species30
Vertebrate Genera10
Swallowtail & Nymphalid Butterfly Species 31
Vascular Plant Genera25
Families & Orders4
Source: [10/2022]

Vietnam Endemic Mammals

Mammals found only in Vietnam include the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey, Delacour’s Langur (ARKive WM), the Cat Ba Langur (NEPC) (iNaturalist), the Silver-backed Chevrotain (Mongabay), the Puhoat Muntjac (IUCN), the Sa Pa White-toothed Shrew (ResearchGate), the Small-toothed Mole (ResearchGate), Suntsov’s Marmoset Rat (ResearchGate), the Hon Khoai Squirrel (ResearchGate) (WAZA), Griffin’s Leaf-nosed Bat (ARKive WM), and Beezlebub’s Tube-nosed Bat (ASM). Daovantien’s Limestone Rat (ResearchGate) is an endemic genus.

Vietnam Endemic birds

Birds unique to Vietnam include Edward’s Pheasant, the Tonkin Partridge (Cornell), Black-crowned Fulvetta (eBird), the White-throated Wren Babbler (eBird), the Orange-breasted Laughingthrush (eBird), the Collared Laughingthrush (eBird), the Golden-winged Laughingthrush (eBird), the Gray-crowned Crocias (eBird), and the Vietnamese Greenfinch (eBird). The Annam Grasshopper-warbler (eBird) and the Annam Prinia (eBird) are also sometimes recognized as distinct species.

31 WANEE asia
Vietnamese Cutia Cutia legalleni – Endemic bird for Vietnam

Vietnam Endemic Reptiles

Reptiles exclusive to Vietnam include the Ta Kou Marbled Gecko (Reptile Database), the Huu Lian Leopard Gecko (ResearchGate) (EDGE), the Psychedelic Rock Gecko (Guardian), the Black-eyed Bent-toed Gecko (fig. 8b at Vertebrate Zoology) (EDGE), the Giant Butterfly Lizard (BioLib), the Vietnamese Forest Lizard (iNaturalist), Sokolov’s Glass Lizard (Reptile Database), the Cha Noi Water Skink (, the Three-banded Forest Skink (iNaturalist), Han’s Grass Lizard (, Greer’s Snake Skink (Reptile Database), the Hon Son Pitviper (Reptile Database), the Quang Binh Pitviper (iNaturalist), the Long-tailed Kukri Snake (iNaturalist), a sunbeam snake Xenopeltis intermedius (Species New to Science), the Vietnamese Pond Turtle (IUCN), and the Southern Vietnamese Box Turtle (Turtle Sanctuary). Nguyen Van Sang’s Snake (ResearchGate) is an endemic genus of snake.

Vietnam Endemic Amphibians

Amphibians known solely from Vietnam include Ryabov’s Bug-eyed Frog (iNaturalist), the Bana Frilled Tree Frog (Vietnam Creatures WM), the Vampire Flying Frog (CalPhotos), Jodi’s Tree Frog (Species New to Science), the Limestone Small Tree Frog (CalPhotos), Quang’s Tree Frog (Mongabay), Nguyens’ Fanged Frog (iNaturalist), Mutschmann’s Odorous Frog (ResearchGate), the Spiny Torrent Frog (CalPhotos), the Langbian Plateau Frog (CalPhotos), Botsford’s Litter Toad (EDGE), Sterling’s Toothed Toad (IUCN), the White-eyed Spadefoot Toad (IUCN), the Painted Narrow-mouth Frog (iNaturalist), Cuong’s Dwarf Frog (Species New to Science), the Vietnamese Crocodile Newt (IUCN), and the Cha Lo Caecilian (ResearchGate).

Vietnam Endemic Freshwater fishes

Freshwater fishes restricted to Vietnam include the Redback Paradise Fish (Seriously Fish), the Toothy Blackhand Paradise Fish Polynemus bidentatus (p. 17 of WWF WM pdf), the Tiger Hillstream Loach (Seriously Fish), the catfishes Pseudobagarius similis (PlanetCatfish) and Pareuchiloglanis poilanei (FishBase), a priapiumfish Phallostethus cuulong (Zootaxa pdf), the Mekong Delta Dragonet (VietnamNewFish), a goby Rhinogobius phuongae (GBIF), the Mekong Mahseer (GBIF), and the Vietnamese White Cloud Minnow (Seriously Fish). Endemic genera include the Hovering Zebra Loach (Seriously Fish), Draconectes (BHL), Araiocypris (ResearchGate), Vinagarra (Semantic Scholar), and Parasqualidus (Raffles Museum pdf).

Vietnam Endemic marine fishes

Endemic marine fishes include the Ranta Goby (FishBase), the Ha Long Thryssa (Semantic Scholar), the Yellow-blotched Tilefish (GBIF), a gurnard Lepidotrigla firmisquamis (GBIF), Pavlov’s Goatfish (GBIF), the Long-body Snake Eel (ResearchGate), and a moray Strophidon dawydoffi (Semantic Scholar WM).

Vietnam Endemic Butterfies

Butterflies found nowhere else include Tanaecia (or Cynitia) stellata (, Stichophthalma uemurai (Facebook), Deramas cham (Butterflies in Indo-China), Graphium wenlingae (Species New to Science), Ypthima daclaca (p. 19 of KMNH pdf), and Dodona katerina (BHL). Other endemic insects include a stag beetle Lucanus dongi (Vietnam Insect WM), the longhorn beetles Thermistis annamensis (GBIF) and Casiphia takakuwai (Vietnam Insect WM), a flower beetle Protaetia dianae (GBIF), a long-armed scarab Cheirotonus battareli (Vietnam Creatures WM), a cave-dwelling ground beetle Tonkinaphaenops anthonyi (GBIF), a mantis Phasmomantella nuichuana (GBIF), a stick insect Phryganistria tamdaoensis (ESF), a leaf insect Cryptophyllium phami (, a katydid Lipotactes azureus (figs. A-C at ResearchGate), a cicada Pomponia brevialata (ResearchGate), an ant Opamyrma hungvuong (AntWiki), a bee Bathanthidium paco (JHE), a mud dauber wasp Chalybion tanvinhensis (GBIF), a dragonfly Merogomphus tamdaoensis (VietOdonata), and the damselflies Chlorogomphus nakamurai (IUCN) and Matrona taoi (Odonata Vietnam).

Other endemic invertebrates include a tarantula Selenocosmia kovariki (, a cave-dwelling scorpion Vietbocap thienduongensis (ScienceDirect), a harvestman Euepedanus vietnamicus (GBIF), a whip spider Weygoldtia consonensis (GBIF), the millipedes Sellanucheza hoffmani (Rufford) and Eostemmiulus caecus (IUCN), a centipede Tonkinodentus lestes (ZooKeys), a velvet worm Eoperipatus totoro (Species New to Science), a cave-dwelling shrimp Macrobrachium phongnhaense (Species New to Science), a freshwater crab Potamiscus cucphuongensis (Vietnam Creatures WM), and the freshwater mussels Lanceolaria bogani (BHL) and Pseudobaphia banggiangensis (ResearchGate). Endemic land snails include Amphidromus ngai (MNHN), Cyclophorus cucphuongensis (Science Trends), Angustopila psammion (Species New to Science), and Bertia cambojiensis (IUCN).

A new fly family, the Circumphallidae (OMNIA) ( pdf), has been described based on a single individual from Ba Be National Park. Other endemic families include at webspinner Embonychidae (BHL) (ESF), a nematode Neotripylidae (ResearchGate), and a parasitic rotifer Clariaidae (RWC).

Among the orchids confined to Vietnam are Vanda christensoniana (POWO), Paphiopedilum delenatii (, Dendrobium ochraceum (IOPSE), Anoectochilus annamensis (BBC), and the endemic genera Deceptor (IOPSE) and Bidoupia (flickr). Other endemic plants include the Golden Vietnamese Cypress (RBGE), Krempf’s Pine (RBGE), Amorphophallus interruptus (IAS), Begonia bataiensis (IUCN), Camellia cucphuongensis (, Rhododendron fleuryi (Vietnam Creatures WM), Cycas condaoensis (Cycad Pages WM), Zingiber yersinii (IUCN), and Ornithoboea emarginata (IUCN). Other endemic genera include Hiepia (Turczaninowia pdf), Billolivia (BHL), Distichochlamys (BHL), Newmania (IUCN), Nianhochloa (MNHN WM pdf), Khoonmengia (Phytokeys), Cochinchinochloa (Species New to Science), Leoheo (Species New to Science), Yersinochloa (Species New to Science), Vietnamocasia (ResearchGate), Michaelmoelleria (PhytoKeys), and Cyclacanthus (Fauna & Flora of Vietnam).

Endemic lichens include Arthophacopsis heterodermiae (fig. 2 at ResearchGate). Endemic fungi include Tylopilus subotsuensis (Fungal Planet pdf), Volvariella orientalis (GBIF), and Fistulinella aurantioflava (Fungal Planet pdf). Endemic non-vascular plants include the mosses Neckera praetermissa (ResearchGate) and Trichosteleum vietnamense (GBIF) and the liverworts Drepanolejeunea bidoupensis (MNHN) and Cololejeunea vietnamensis (GBIF).


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