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Wildlife & Habitat

Masked booby

Approximately 100 species of corals have been reported at Wake Atoll, a number somewhat lower than found at larger and less isolated neighboring atolls to the south. Fish populations are abundant with at least 323 species recorded, including large populations of the Napoleon wrasse, sharks of several species, and large schools of the bumphead parrotfish, all of which are globally depleted. Foraging populations of the threatened green turtle and resident populations of spinner dolphins are also found at Wake. 

The islands support a rare grass species, Lepturus gasparricensis, and were home to the endemic Wake rail until it went extinct during World War II. Wake supports 12 species of resident nesting seabirds and 6 species of migratory shorebirds; all of which are populations of regional significance. Black-footed albatrosses and Laysan albatrosses recently recolonized Wake; one of few northern albatross colonies outside the Hawaiian archipelago. 
  • Birds

    Gray-backed tern rotator

    Wildlife on Wake Atoll is dominated by a diversity of seabirds and migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. Wilkes and Peale islands support large numbers of resident and migratory seabirds and visiting winter resident shorebirds and waterfowl.

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  • Mammals

    Hawaiian monkseal

  • Reptiles and Amphibians

  • Fish

  • Invertebrates

  • Marine Habitat

  • Island Habitat

    Peacock Point 150x113

    The harsh climate, inhospitable substrate, and regime of frequent, catastrophic disturbance combine to maintain the natural vegetation in an early successional stage. Ecologically, each of the indigenous species can be considered a pioneer species with broad ecological tolerance for high salinity, droughty conditions, and frequent disturbance. Three natural plant associations can be described on the unimproved grounds of Wake Atoll based loosely on a moisture gradient.

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Page Photo Credits — Mark Rauzon
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2016
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