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Sandy plains

Smooth Stingray (Photo: Mark Norman)

Smooth Stingray (Photo: Mark Norman)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sandy plains

Common Stargazer (Photo: William Boyle)

Common Stargazer (Photo: William Boyle)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sandy plains

Heart Urchin (photo: William Boyle)

Heart Urchin (photo: William Boyle)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sandy plains

Dumpling Squid (photo: William Boyle)

Dumpling Squid (photo: William Boyle)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sandy plains

Sandy habitats are far from being deserts and have a surprising wealth of life. These areas are home to a range of tiny plants and animals that can live in the spaces between the sand grains while larger animals hide beneath the sand.

Scientific surveys have shown that some Victorian sandy environments have the highest levels of animal diversity in the sea ever recorded. In the area around the Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park in Gippsland more than 600 different marine animal species, many of them very small, have been found within an area of 10 square metres.

Animals found in Sandy Plains include Smooth Stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata), Pipi (Plebidonax deltoids), Dumpling Squid (Euprymna tasmanica), Common Stargazer (Kathetostoma leave) and Heart Urchin (Echinocardium cordatum).

Key Threats

  • Fishing or removal of animals and plants
  • Oil and chemical pollution
  • Marine pests which compete for food or space such as the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis) or the Japanese Kelp (Undaria pinnatifida)
  • Climate change effects including sea level rise, warming sea surface temperatures, and increasing ocean acidity.

Where to see sandy plains

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Award winning research helps conserve threatened wildlife

09 Jun 2016

One of Australia’s most comprehensive research studies on how plants, animals and their habitats respond to and recover from fire has been awarded the prestigious Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award from Parks Victoria. This ten-year collaborative research project led by La Trobe and Deakin University showed that the effects…

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This historical tour provides a unique opportunity to view a cave that is rarely open to the public and is part of the same cave system as the Royal and the Fairy show caves. Lit only by solar-powered pathway lights, you are provided with a helmet and headlight to view…