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n. The state of being endemic


n. nativeness by virtue or originating or occurring naturally (as in a particular place) [syn: indigenousness, autochthony]


Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. The extreme opposite of endemism is cosmopolitan distribution. An alternative term for a species that is endemic is precinctive, which applies to species (and subspecific categories) that are restricted to a defined geographical area.

The word endemic is from New Latin endēmicus, from Greek ενδήμος, endēmos, "native." Endēmos is formed of en meaning "in," and dēmos meaning "the people." The term, precinctive, has been suggested by some scientists, and was first used in botany by MacCaughey in 1917. It is the equivalent of "endemism". Precinction was perhaps first used by Frank and McCoy. Precinctive seems to have been coined by David Sharp of the Hawaiian fauna in 1900: "I use the word precinctive in the sense of 'confined to the area under discussion' … 'precinctive forms' means those forms that are confined to the area specified." That definition excludes artificial confinement of examples by humans in far-off botanical gardens or zoological parks.