Skip to main content

Relict Species

Relict species

A species surviving from an ancient time in isolated populations that represent the localized remains of a distribution which was originally much wider. These populations become isolated through disruptive geophysical events such as glaciation , or immigration to outlying islands, which is not followed by reunification of the fragmented populations. The origins and relationships of several relict species are well documented, and these include local Central American avian populations which are remnants of the North American avifauna left after the last glacial retreat. The origins of other relict species are unknown because all related species are extinct. This group includes lungfishes, rhynchocephalian reptiles (genus Sphenodon ), and the duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus ).

See also California condor; Endangered species; Extinction; Rare Species

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Relict Species." Environmental Encyclopedia. . 24 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Relict Species." Environmental Encyclopedia. . (April 24, 2019).

"Relict Species." Environmental Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 24, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.