Hotspot of Biodiversity: Unique and Endangered Animals of Central Texas

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Central Texas is recognized as a hotspot of biodiversity on an international scale. Many species of animals are found nowhere else in the world, and discoveries of new species are still occurring in the region. In addition, many different biotic regions converge in central Texas, so that species typical of south Texas thorn scrub, the oak-juniper woodlands of the Edwards Plateau, the short-grass prairies of the high plains, the tall grass blackland prairies, and the pine-oak forests of east Texas all occur around Austin. This blending of species from the north, south, east, and west, combined with unique habitats created by the uplifting of the Edwards Plateau, results in a diverse and unique biological community. However, much of this diversity is endangered by habitat destruction, excessive pumping of ground water, pollution and diversion of surface water, and the introduction of exotic species.