Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the world, which possess unique and characteristic fauna with a high level of endemicity (World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC), 1991). Ethiopia is endowed with extensive and unique environmental conditions ranging from Ras Dejen (altitude 4600m) to Dallol (altitude 100). This large altitudinal and latitudinal range makes Ethiopia an ecologically diverse country and home to several unique habitats.
Ethiopia’s distinctive mammal fauna includes several genera found nowhere else including a primate, the Gelada, as well as the Gray-tailed Narrow-headed Rat, Nikolaus’s Giant Climbing Mouse, Yalden’s Rat, and the Ethiopian Water Mouse. Otherw endemic mammals include the Ethiopian Wolf, the Mountain Nyala, the Walia Ibex, the Bale Mountains Vervet, Starck’s Hare, Blick’s Grass Rat, Lovat’s African Climbing Mouse, and the Big-headed Mole Rat. Sometimes considered full species are Swayne’s Hartebeest, the Ethiopian Klipspringer, and the Ethiopian Highlands Bushbuck.
Birds unique to Ethiopia include Ruspoli’s Turaco, the Brown-faced Go-away-bird, the Blue-winged Goose, Harwood’s Francolin, the Moorland Francolin, the Yellow-fronted Parrot, the Spot-breasted Lapwing, the White-tailed Swallow, the Ethiopian Bush-crow, the Yellow-throated Seed-eater, the Ethiopian Siskin, the Ankober Serin, the Ethiopian Pytilia, the Sombre Chat, the Abyssinian Longclaw, the Degodi Bushlark, Erlanger’s Lark, the Sidamo Lark, and the Abyssinian Catbird.
Reptiles found only in Ethiopia include the Bale Mountains Heather Chameleon, the Bale Mountains Two-horned Chameleon, and the Ethiopian Mountain Chameleon. Other endemic reptiles include the Ethiopian Girdled Lizard, the Ethiopian Ridgeback Agama, an agama Acanthocercus guentherpetersi, a leaf-toed geckoHemidactylus awashensis, the Ethiopian House Snake, Böhme’s Ethiopian Mountain Snake, the Ethiopian Mountain Adder, and the Highland Beak Snake.
Amphibian genera restricted to Ethiopia include Malcolm’s Ethiopian ToadAltiphrynoides, the Ethiopian Short-headed Frog Balebreviceps, the Kouni Valley Striped Frog Paracassina, the Bale Mountains Frog Ericabatrachus, and the Aleku Caecilian Sylvacaecilia. Other endemic amphibians include the Badditu Forest TreefrogLeptopelis gramineus, the Ethiopian Snout-burrower Hemisus microscaphus, the Ethiopian Banana Frog Afrixalus enseticola, Neumann’s Grassland Frog Ptychadena neumanni, and the Tiny River FrogPhrynobatrachus minutus.
The species of Lake Tana barbs are a spectacular example of adaptive radiation and include Barbus humilis and Barbus tanapelagius. The Ethiopian Loach Nemacheilus abyssinicus is the only representative of the family in Africa. Other endemic freshwater fish species include the Small-scaled Ethiopian Barb Barbus ethiopicus, the recently described Garra tana, Nannaethiops bleheri, a cichlid Danakilia franchettii, an elephantfish Marcusenius annamariae, a mochokid catfishChiloglanis modjensis , and the Lake Afdera Killifish Lebias stiassnyae.
Butterflies known solely from Ethiopia include Charaxes galawadiwosi, Charaxes phoebus, Acraea oscari, and Acraea guichardi. Other endemic insects include an owlet moth Batuana rougeoti, the dragonflies Atoconeura aethiopica and Notogomphus cottarellii, the damselfliesElattoneura pasquinii and Ischnura abyssinica, an antHypoponera exigua, a mantis Sphodromantis aethiopica, a bush cricket Tropidonotacris amabilis, the longhorned beetles Sternotomis caillaudi and Gennarus ornatus, and several flower beetles: Hegemus pluto, Compsocephalus dmitriewi, Pachnoda abyssinica, and Centrantyx nitidus.
Other endemic invertebrates include the freshwater snails Bulinus octoploidus and Ancylus ashangiensis, a freshwater mussel Unio abyssinicus, the scorpions Buthus awashensis and Pandinus trailini, a spider Singafrotypa subinermis, a freshwater crab Potamonautes kundudo, and a cace-dwelling isopod crustacean Skotobaena mortoni.