In the Australia's Unique and Deadly Animals and Plants course (BIOS1501) students will learn how evolutionary isolation has made the Australian fauna and flora so distinct. Along the way, students will learn about the deadly animals and plants of Australia and how to identify them. Students will also learn about why this long period of isolation has made the Australian fauna so vulnerable to the threats posed by introduced species. This course will involve some day trip excursions and incur a small cost to students (approximately $100).

Term offering: Term 3

Course attendance: In person

Level: Undergraduate - First year


  • Biology
  • Ecology

Course code: BIOS1501

Course information

Australian native animals and plants are unique and remarkably interesting, and Australia's biota has long been a focus of international researchers and amateur naturalists. In this course, we will explore perhaps the single aspect that has focused the attention of the naturalists of the world on Australia, its unique and sometimes deadly creatures. Researchers within the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences have extensive research experience and expertise on Australia's unique and deadly organisms, including reptiles and snakes, spiders, mammals, fish, sharks, jellyfish and even plants. We'll present this course as a series of topics that focus on these major taxa, each taught by an academic with expertise on that taxa. The course rationale is to provide a diverse range of international and local students a foundation of how the origin of biological diversity in Australia and why so many Australian organisms are so deadly.

Course aims

This course will give students an introduction to the diversity of, and adaptations expressed by Australia's unique and sometimes deadly plants and animals.  Students will explore why the biota of Australia is so unique, the consequences of the interactions between humans and deadly animals, and the conservation challenges we face. 

Suitable for general education.

This course has no condition of enrolment.


Assessment type Assessment name Weighting (%)
Test Early term test 10
Assignment Deadly seas assignment 20
Assignment Deadly land assignment 20
Text Final exam 50

Find out more

For more information, please contact Professor Mike Letnic.


T: +61 2 9385 2079