Papuan Peninsula




J. Hales


Papua New Guinea

Major Habitat Type

Tropical and subtropical coastal rivers

Drainages flowing into

Solomon Sea, Coral Sea; Pacific Ocean

Main rivers to other water bodies

Musa River, Mambare River, Waria River, Tauri River, Alabule River, Vanapa River



This ecoregion encompasses the Papuan Peninsula and offshore islands (including the Trobriand Islands, D\'Entrecasteaux Islands, and Louisiade Archipelago) off the southeast coast of New Guinea. The peninsula separates the Solomon and Coral seas.


The topography ranges from low coastal plains and inlets to foothills and mountains. The Owen Stanley Range, an extension of the New Guinea Highlands, forms the backbone of this ecoregion. The highest peak is Mt. Victoria at more than 4000 m.

Terrestrial habitats

This ecoregion includes the following terrestrial ecoregions:  Southeastern Papuan rain forests [AA0120], Central Range subalpine grasslands [AA1002], Southern New Guinea freshwater swamp forests [AA0121], New Guinea mangroves [AA1401], Trobriand Islands rain forests [AA0125], and Louisiade Archipelago rain forests [AA0110] (WWF 2001).

Description of endemic fishes

The ecoregion contains nearly 20 endemics, including an endemic monospecific genus, Tateurndina. The peacock gudgeon (T. ocellicauda), the only member of this genus, is found in streams along the northeastern side of the Owen Stanley Range (Allen 1991). Other ecoregion endemics include Zenarchopterus robertsi, Pseudomugil connieae, Craterocephalus kailolae, Tetracentrum apogonoides, T. caudovittatus, T. honessi, Melanotaenia papuae, M. parkinsoni, Mogurnda lineata, and M. orientalis.

Justification for delineation

Freshwater biotas in New Guinea center around foci of high endemism clustered around tectonic provinces. This ecoregion comprises the Papuan Peninsula and associated offshore islands region of endemism recognized by Allen (1991) and Polhemus et al. (2004).


  • Allen, G. R. (1991). "Field guide to the freshwater fishes of New Guinea, Publ. 9" Madang, Papua New Guinea: Christensen Research Institute.
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (2001) \Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World\ "<"">"
  • Polhemus, D.A.,England, R.A.;Allen, G.R. (2004) \Freshwater biotas of New Guinea and nearby islands: analysis of endemism, richness, and threats. Bishop Museum Technical Report 31\ Honolulu, HI. Bishop Museum.