Jump to section:

We provide access to our data via a set of REST APIs documented on Swagger. You can find the list of published APIs and relevant Swagger documentation at docs.ala.org.au.



Please note, this portal is new. 
While we are migrating all APIs across, ALA’s existing portal is still available.


You can use these APIs in your work to access our open-source data more easily and feed into downstream analyses using your own system. You may also wish to combine the data with information from other domains in novel ways. 



Most of our APIs use REST conventions and support JSON as a data format. 


Our data are open and freely accessible. This means that most of our APIs do not require authentication and can be accessed freely as documented in the relevant Swagger specifications found at docs.ala.org.au


For the protected APIs (such as sensitive or private data), you’ll need a JSON Web Token (JWT), which can be generated via a Client ID and Client Secret – let us know if you require this and we can assist.



Examples of ALA APIs 


1. Explore our species information using autocomplete search


It can be interesting to look for species with similar names, but that are very different and widely placed in the tree of life! Let’s look for species with ‘green tree’ in their name Note, the default maximum result is 10. We've left that as is for now. 


curl -X 'GET' \

'https://apis.ala.org.au/bie-index/search/auto.json?q=green%20tree' \

-H 'accept: */*'


Results will appear like this (we’ve used Postman):


JSON results showing information for the first three species



We can visualise this a bit better, here we’ve used JSON Crack to tidy up the results:


formatted JSON results showing 10 unique entries




We can see that 10 species have been returned, these are (by common name):


  1. Coastal Aspen / Green Tree
  2. Mallee Teatree
  3. Green-Eyed Tree Frog
  4. Green Treehopper
  5. A-Gurninymiyah / Green Tree Snake
  6. Ngayrrngayrr / Green Tree Frog
  7. Green Tree Ant
  8. Cascade Treefrog
  9. Leaf-Green Tree Frog
  10. Narrow Fringed Frog



2. Find an image's link and attribution information (using image derivatives)


Now let’s say you’ve found an image you’d like to use in your work, and give attribution to the creator.


For example, for this photo of a Leaf-green Tree Frog (Litoria phyllochroa):


small green frog with large eyes amongst green foliage

Leaf-green Tree Frog (Litoria phyllochroa). Photo: Nathan Ruser (CC-BY)



Once you have the image ID, you can use the following API:

curl -X 'GET' \


-H 'accept: application/json'


Here it is again, with the image ID included:

curl -X 'GET' \

'https://apis.ala.org.au/images/image/details?id=208f80fd-da53-4569-8fcc-21798e3d9cb6' \

-H 'accept: application/json'


Results will appear like this:


screenshot of JSON results showing 35 lines of information



Again, we can visualise the results. We’ve added arrows to point out the image URL on line 10 and attribution license details on line 27:

view of the code using JSON Crack online, links are underlined and line breaks make it easier to look for particular information



Well done!

Now that you have the image link and attribution information, you can include it in your downstream work. If you’d like even more information, you may wish to go back over your work including tags and metadata using to {includeTags} and {includeMetadata}. This information primarily covers the specifications of the image and how it was taken.