An independent, non-commercial site to collect and disseminate information on the natural history of Shetland

contact us

About these pages

Nature in Shetland

winner of a Shetland Environment Award 2004

Endemic Plants
Endemic Invertebrates
Endemic Vertebrates

 Shetland Endemics



An endemic is an animal or plant that is found nowhere else. Islands are famous for their endemics because the animals and plants found there evolve in isolation, a process that is often accelerated by the 'founder effect' whereby any unusual characteristics of the original founders become widespread in the resultant population.

Endemism in Shetland is relatively rare because the plants and animals found here have all colonised the islands in the last 12,000 years, since the end of the last ice age. This is a relatively short length of time compared to, for example, the Canary Islands or the Galapagos Islands, both of which can boast dozens of endemic species.

The following pages highlight some of the more notable endemics or semi-endemics found in Shetland. 






This site is not directly connected to any of the organisations mentioned, so comments  may not necessarily reflect the views of the organisations, clubs or societies  involved. The pages on this website remain the intellectual property of the authors. They may be freely downloaded, quoted or used for any purpose, providing acknowledgement is given to the website and/or the author/s. No liability is accepted for the accuracy of this information.