Terrestrial Vegetation

Santa Rosa Island is home to approximately 500 plants species within nine plant communities. There are several rare species like the Torrey Pines that only occur on Santa Rosa Island and in San Diego, for more information see the attached Sierra Club article. Six plant species are island endemics. Click here to view Calflora’s list of plants. For additional information on the vegetation communities and plants species across the California Channel Islands please visit the Channel Islands National Park and the Mediterranean Coast Network website.

Full list of endemic plant species (PDF, 187 KB)

Terrestrial Animals:

The Santa Rosa Island Deer Mouse, (Peremyscus maniculatus), and the Santa Rosa Island Fox, (Urocyon littoralis santarosae), are the only two mammals limited in distribution to Santa Rosa Island. Other vertebrates on Santa Rosa Island include the Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla, and the Cris regilla), Channel Islands Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps pacificus), Island Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), Island Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer pumilis).

Island Spotted Skunk (Spilogale gracilis amphialus). The invertebrate fauna on Santa Rosa Island has been poorly studied. Only one insect is known to be restricted to the island, the Island Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha insularis), a butterfly that is locally common during the spring. For additional information on the vegetation communities and plants species across the California Channel Islands please visit the Channel Islands National Park and the Mediterranean Coast Network website.

Bird Resources

Nonavian native terrestrial vertebrates list (PDF, 196KB)

Threatened and endangered-species found on the island (PDF, 156KB)

Marine Mammals

The waters around the island harbor a diverse assemblage of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Many species of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) either breed on Santa Rosa Island or feed in the productive waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. Specifically, California Sea Lions (Zalophus califorianus) and Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustriostris) breed on the sandy beaches along the southern and western sides of Santa Rosa Island. For more information on the marine mammals you will see on your journey to Santa Rosa Island please visit the Channel Islands National Park and the Mediterranean Coast Network website.

Pinnipeds located on the island (PDF, 85KB)

Paleo Animals:

The best studied aspect of island paleontology is the pygmy mammoth (Mammuthus exilis). In 1994 a nearly complete adult skeleton was discovered and excavated on Santa Rosa Island. For additional information please visit the Channel Island National Park website.

Non-Native Species

Non-native, invasive species threaten endangered animals and plants on the Channel Islands and are costly to control. The following regulations and guidelines can help prevent the introduction and spread of non-native species before they become a problem. To prevent the introduction of non-native species the following items shall not be transported or delivered to the island: pets or any animal, service animals (except by permit from superintendent), live or potted plants, soil, cut flowers, firewood or any untreated, unfinished wood (including hiking sticks), corrugated boxes, tools or equipment with attached soil, motorized vehicles, and bicycles. Less restrictive measures would have the potential for introduction of non-native species that could adversely affect many species and/or endanger the islands ecosystems.