The Ash Meadows Sunray is one of at least 26 plants and animals that are endemic to Ash Meadows NWR.

What does endemic mean?

Endemic (pronounced en-dem-ik) describes a plant or animal that belongs exclusively to an area or is confined to a particular place. Endemic species are most likely to develop in biologically isolated areas such as an island. Ash Meadows is surrounded by extremely harsh and dry desert conditions creating an isolated environment. The water that supports life here occurs from just 50 seeps and springs. The conditions in this desert oasis have created this biologically isolated area and given rise to its nearly 30 species of endemic plants and animals.     

How is an endemic species determined?

It begins with looking at size, shape, color and other visual characteristics that seem to be unique compared to other known species. Some of these differences are easily recognized others require a look under a microscope or a genetic study to confirm a new species has been found. Although the world is losing plant and animal species at an alarming rate some new species have been discovered - even at Ash Meadows.  Learn more about recently discovered endemic bees at Ash Meadows.