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Mesembriomys macrurus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA MURIDAE

Scientific Name: Mesembriomys macrurus
Species Authority: (Peters, 1876)
Common Name(s):
English Golden-backed Tree Rat

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Burbidge, A. & Woinarski, J.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) & Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern because, although the species has suffered severe range contraction and population declines in the past, it is still relatively widespread (extent of occurrence >20,000 km2), locally abundant, and unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. The population trends of this species are not well known at present, but there is no evidence of declines in the Kimberley region. Monitoring of these populations is clearly a priority.
History:
1996 Vulnerable (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Australia, where it is now restricted to coastal areas in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and the offshore islands of Carlia, Conilurus (Margaret), Hidden, Uwins and Wollaston (Lee 1995). The species was formerly distributed across much of northern Australia. It was last recorded from Northern Territory in 1969.
Countries:
Native:
Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The species is sparsely scattered, but not rare (and possibly underestimated) (McKenzie and Kerle 2008). Large population declines occurred in the past due to habitat loss. The current population trends are unknown.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a nocturnal species found in tropical rainforest (including vine thickets), eucalypt-dominated woodlands over tussock grasslands (McKenzie and Kerle 2008). This species has also been found in rugged sandstone screes, beaches, and blacksoil plains with pandanus (Woinarski 2005). Its diet consists of seeds, fruits, invertebrates, grass, and leaves, as it forages both arborealy and on the ground (Woinarski 2005). Females give birth usually to two, but sometimes three young (Lee 1995; McKenzie and Kerle 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It has declined through habitat degradation caused by cattle, black rats (Rattus rattus), and changes in fire regime. Current threats may include grazing by cattle, feral cats, and changes in fire regime.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is present in Prince Regent River Nature Reserve, Western Australia (Lee 1995). Further studies into the distribution, population, natural history, and threats to this species are needed. Populations should also be monitored.

Citation: Burbidge, A. & Woinarski, J. 2008. Mesembriomys macrurus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 27 August 2014.
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