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The Atlas of Living Australia is a repository that aggregates biodiversity data. The search tool is great for finding information and occurrence records of different species. The Atlas is built from scientific names, which means you’ll often have more success searching by scientific name. However common names are also stored in our database so if you don’t know the scientific name then give the common name a go! 

If you don’t know the name, common or scientific, of the species you’re trying to find go check out this article about finding species that reside in certain locations.  

Simple species search

To find species information in the Atlas of Living Australia, begin at the homepage. Type the scientific species or common name into the search box.

screenshot of ALA homepage with search box

If you would like to search from a page other than the home page, look for the magnifying glass at the top right of the page. Clicking on that will bring up a search bar. This allows you to search for datasets and other information within in the atlas. 

screenshot of top navigation menu showing magnifying glass on right hand side

Depending on the species you’re looking for, there will likely be many options in this initial search page: The search will return everything that it thinks you might be looking for (e.g. Kangaroo could mean the animal, but maybe you wanted kangaroo grass) make sure you’ve selected the species you’re interested in. 

Click on the species name to open the overview page.

screenshot of search results showing link to scientific species name

The overview page has an occurrence records map and some images. In some cases, there are Indigenous species names, compiled distribution maps, a brief description, and sound files. You may also find the Conservation Status of that species.

example of a species overview page on the ALA. This page is for macropus giganteus, the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, and it shows some photos of the species, a distribution map and conservation status

Tabs on the species pages

The species pages have tabs at the top below the species names, with more information about the species. The Classification tab for example shows the classification level of the species. Clicking on each higher or lower order level (species, genus, etc) will take you to information and records of that classification.  

The gallery tab is a great way to see images of the species. The images could be of the species in its natural environment, images of skulls and bones, or biological drawings. There are also some stuffed specimens. If you go check out the gallery for Malurus cyaneus, (Superb Fairy-Wren), you’ll see the specimen photos are of eggs.

Advanced species search 

You might want to search for more than one species or have a little more control over your search. You can do this by selecting the Search and download records option on the home page. 

screenshot of homepage showing the 'search and download records' link, on the 'Researchers' tab

The advanced search will allow you more flexibility when finding species, while also allowing you to restrict the records that will be returned by specifying fields. There are also other types of searches that can be performed such as batch taxon search, allowing you to look for multiple species at once. See the by location help articles for using the spatial search. 


While you have some ability to control your search via the advanced search button much more flexibility exists using filters after you’ve performed your search. 

See our Refine your search article for information on how to filter your results.