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Cocos Islands (Keeling Islands)

Main attractions

South Keeling Island from space
South Keeling Island from space / , Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Geographically Cocos Islands are located in Asia, but, as these islands belong to Australia, they are reviewed as a part of Australia and Oceania.

Cocos Islands consist of two atolls - North Keeling Island (also - just Keeling Island) and South Keeling Islands. Both atolls consist of small low-lying islands with few landmarks. Interesting historical monument of World War II is Brittish installed Horsburgh Island Gun Battery in the southern part of this northernmost island of South Keeling atoll. This is not a common gun battery: here in 1942 took place a mutiny of Ceylonese soldiers willing to hand over the islands to Japanese.

Unique plants and animals

North Keeling Island is less affected by human activity. This 1.2 km² island is important breeding habitat for some six species of birds, including the 750 - 1000 representatives of one endemic bird subspecies - Cocos Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis andrewsi) - which earlier lived also on South Keeling atoll.

Cocos Islands, beach
Cocos Islands, beach / , Wikimedia Commons / public domain

On islands are found some 130 species of plants, approximately one half are native species. Only one subspecies of plants is endemic - Textile Screw-Pine Pandanus tectorius var. cocosensis.

There is known one endemic pufferfish Tetraodon implutus.

Endemic invertebrates of Cocos Islands are:

  • Floresorchestia poorei - small crustacean, often found on the beaches of West island in South Keeling atoll;
  • Opogona simoniella (also Conchyliospila simoniella) - small moth;
  • Ortalis dispila - small picture-winged fly;
  • Paraxanthias gibsonhilli - small crab living on reefs;
  • Succinea keelingensis - land snail with approximately 1 cm long shell, found on North Keeling Island.

List of described attractions

Map of Cocos Islands (Keeling Islands)

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