Native Species: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Sarah Friedl

Sarah has two Master's, one in Zoology and one in GIS, a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

What makes a species native? Are non-native species the same as invasive species? Native species are specially adapted to fit their environment and live in the same place where they originated.


You may not be living in the same place you were born, or even the same place you grew up. But you likely still call that place 'home.' Like you, other plant and animal species may live far from where they originated. Those that do live in the same place they are originally from are called native species.

Native species are considered to be native only if they originated in their location naturally, and without the involvement of human activity or intervention. This usually means that those species evolved and are adapted to living in that particular environment, but this is not always the case.

Introduced species (non-native) are those that have been introduced by humans, either accidentally or intentionally. Once a species has become too pervasive in an environment, it is said to be invasive. Both native and introduced species can be invasive.


There are two types of native species, indigenous and endemic. Indigenous species are native species that are found in multiple locations, whereas endemic species are only found in a specific, unique location. We often find endemic species in geographically isolated areas such as islands. Madagascar and the Galapagos Islands are both home to a host of endemic species that aren't found anywhere else on Earth.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member

Already a member? Log In

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 49 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Click "next lesson" whenever you finish a lesson and quiz. Got It
You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring. Got It
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate,and you'll be done before you know it.