Antechinomys laniger 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Dasyuromorphia Dasyuridae

Scientific Name: Antechinomys laniger
Species Authority: (Gould, 1856)
Common Name(s):
English Kultarr
Taxonomic Notes:

Two subspecies or ‘forms’ (originally described as full species) have been described, Antechinomys laniger laniger (eastern Australia) and A. l. spenceri (western Australia). Lidicker and Marlow (1970) supported retention of the two species, but Archer (1977) concluded that the differences between the two described species were clinal and considered that Antechinomys is a monotypic genus containing only A. laniger, with two allopatric forms, the nominate form and the 'spenceri' form. These subspecies (or ‘forms’) have not been tested using modern molecular methods, and are not accepted here.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-05-16
Assessor(s): Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J.
Reviewer(s): Johnson, C.N. & Hawkins, C.
Contributor(s): Brandle, R., Fisher, D., McKenzie, N., Pedler, R. & Woolley, P.
Listed as Least Concern as the Kultarr is widespread with a patchy distribution and fluctuating abundance, but with no evidence of an ongoing decline.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Kultarr is widespread in arid and semi-arid Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales; however, it is presumed extinct in southern New South Wales (Valente 2008). It has declined historically, with apparent loss of populations in the Gulf hinterland region of the Northern Territory (Parker 1973) and losses or marked reductions in southern New South Wales, Victoria and south-eastern South Australia (Dickman et al. 1993).  However, there is no evidence of decline in the 10-year period relevant to this assessment.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1000-100000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:3200000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:10Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The Kultarr is thought to be uncommon and have a patchy distribution, but occasionally dense populations occur temporarily. Finlayson (1961) found it plentiful in South Australia during the 1930s and the 1950s. In the 1960s, Philpott and Smyth (1967) caught just one during a 24 week survey in northern South Australia. In South Australia’s stony deserts it is sparsely distributed on gibber pavement country, where it is relatively easy to trap in metal box traps (trap success c. 1%), with numbers ranging from 0 to 46 animals trapped over two 16 km2 trap grids during a 10 year study (Pedler 2009). Brice et al. (2012) caught six in 3800 trap nights on gibber plains at Diamantina National Park in western Queensland in 2009-2010. During intensive trapping between 1980 and 1982, Valente (Woolley 1984) failed to catch Kultarrs despite 4990 trap-nights and 653 km of spotlighting in south-western Queensland and central New South Wales over three seasons, but caught c. one animal per thousand trap-nights at Mileura Station, Murchison, in Western Australia.  In Western Australia its trap success rates have been low (McKenzie et al. 2000).

Strong and Low (1968) considered Kultarrs to be rare, but they were locally abundant at their Northern Territory site in the early 1980s. Pavey et al. (2008) caught two Kultarrs per thousand trap-nights during a three year study in the Simpson Desert of the Northern Territory.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:20000-100000Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:10-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Kultarr is adapted to living in open country, including stony and sandy plains with sparse shrubs and grasses. Brice et al. (2012) found that it avoids complex vegetation structure at the habitat and microhabitat scale. In some studies it becomes less common after significant rainfall increases vegetation cover (Woolley 1984; Owens 1997). It has been found sheltering in logs and stumps, beneath saltbush tussocks and spinifex (Triodia) hummocks and in deep cracks at the base of shrubs. It also shelters in other animals’ burrows including those of trapdoor spiders, hopping-mice, agamid lizards and goannas. In captivity it has been observed to dig shallow burrows and cover the entrance with grass. A burrow excavated in northern South Australia was 500 mm long and only 50 mm deep, making it vulnerable to damage by vehicles or stock. Brice et al. (2012) located five burrows in gibber habitat in spring by radio-tracking; four were of narrow diameter and shallow, only slightly larger than the body of the occupying Kultarr, and one was apparently an abandoned burrow of a larger animal. Burrows were >50 m apart. Daily home ranges overlapped little with neighbours, although different animals sometimes used the same burrow on different days.

The Kultarr is nocturnal and carnivorous; its diet includes arthropods such as spiders, crickets and grasshoppers (Valente 2008). Animals released with transmitters at Wire Creek Bore, Macumba Station, northern South Australia, moved up to 400 – 940 m over four days (Owens 1997). Brice et al. (2012) observed radio-collared Kultarrs moving up to 500 m a night while hunting actively in clearings.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Generation Length (years):2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Predation by feral Cats (moderate); land degradation due to grazing by domestic and feral herbivores (moderate); predation by Red Fox (minor); inappropriate fire regimes (minor).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a need to develop trapping techniques to permit effective survey and monitoring of the species. Other conservation measures should include implementing long-term monitoring to validate adequacy of conservation measures; collate distribution data; identify and determine the status of the species across its range; construct habitat model to more accurately determine extent of source and sink habitat available to the Kultarr, identify patches and allow monitoring of the changes in habitat quality, particularly due to excessive flooding and grazing. There is a need to study home range, movement, habitat and food requirements in the field if a population can be located for a 3-5 year population study. Also, measures should include establishing adequate reserves and appropriate management inside and outside the reserve system (Maxwell et al. 1996).

Citation: Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J. 2016. Antechinomys laniger. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T1581A21943713. . Downloaded on 23 October 2016.
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