Pseudomys fieldi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Pseudomys fieldi (Waite, 1896)
Common Name(s):
English Djoongari, Alice Springs Mouse, Shark Bay Mouse
Spanish Ratón Bastardo Peludo
Pseudomys praeconis Thomas, 1910
Taxonomic Notes:

No subspecies are recognised for Pseudomys fieldi. The original Shark Bay specimen was described as Pseudomys praeconis, but research demonstrated that P. praeconis should be synonymised with P. fieldi, described from a single Alice Springs specimen (Baynes 1990).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2012-12-31
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Kabat, X., Morris, K., Baynes, A., Legge, S. & Richards, J.
The Djoongari became extinct on mainland Australia in the late 1800s and it then became naturally restricted to Bernier Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia. It has been successfully reintroduced (assisted colonisation) to North West Island, Montebello Islands (1999), and to Faure Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia (2002), and now occurs as three subpopulations at three locations. Because of the failure of some recent translocations, and the drying climate in Shark Bay, there are plausible threats to individual islands, and the species could become Critically Endangered in a very short time period
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Subfossil material has revealed that the Djoongari formerly occurred in subtropical, semi-arid and arid Western Australia, including Dirk Hartog and Faure Islands (Baynes 2008), South Australia (apart from the south-east), the arid areas of the Northern Territory, and as far east as Mootwingee National Park in New South Wales (Baynes 1990, Morris et al. 2000, Burbidge et al. 2009, Alexander Baynes pers. comm). In Western Australia, it occurred all along the west coast from North West Cape to Cape Leeuwin (latter record in Archer and Baynes 1973). It apparently became extinct on the mainland many decades ago, with the last specimen being collected at Alice Springs in 1895. The only other mainland specimen came from Peron Peninsula, Shark Bay, in 1858, where recent searches have failed to locate it (Sanders and Harold 1990). It survived only on Bernier Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia.

The current range is Bernier (41.5 km²) and Faure Islands (48 km²) (Shark Bay), and North West (Montebello) (1.2 km²) Island, Western Australia. Assisted colonisation translocations to Heirisson Prong and Doole Island (Exmouth Gulf) failed. It has recently been reintroduced to a mainland island at Lorna Glen in the eastern Murchison of Western Australia (37 animals in 2011 and 51 in 2012: DEC 2012) and this subpopulation is being monitored. It will likely be reintroduced to a fenced mainland island at Mt Gibson Sanctuary (Australian Wildlife Conservancy) in 2015.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Western Australia)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:90Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:90
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:3Continuing 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]


In 1992 it was estimated that there were c. 6000-7000 individuals on Bernier Island (Morris and Speldewinde 1992). Djoongari are abundant on Faure and North West Islands, but no population estimates have been undertaken. Numbers would vary with seasonal conditions.

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:10000Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

On Bernier Island, the Djoongari inhabits coastal dune vegetation dominated by Beach Spinifex Spinifex longifolius and Coastal Daisybush Olearia axillaris (Ride and Tyndale-Biscoe 1962, Robinson et al. 1976, Morris and Robinson 2008). It occurs in most coastal sandy areas around the island (Morris et al. 2000), and at lower densities in inland Triodia/Acacia heath (Robinson et al. 1976). Little is known of the former habitat use on the mainland. On the Shark Bay mainland it was last collected in coastal Beach Spinifex at Herald Bight. Translocated animals on Doole Island appeared to prefer coastal habitats (including mangrove hollows) while they persisted (Morris et al. 2000). There is no clear habitat preference on Faure Island, as they are found ubiquitously across the island (Kabat et al. 2012).

Subfossil material suggests that the Shark Bay Mouse did not occur on deep sandy soils on the mainland. It is not recorded from the Great Sandy Desert (where the Desert Mouse P. desertor was the medium-sized rodent), and is only abundant in cave deposits in the MacDonnell Ranges, Uluru, Flinders Ranges, Shark Bay and the Nullarbor (where it occurs in the older levels of deposits because it was largely or entirely replaced by the Desert Mouse in the late Holocene: A. Baynes pers. comm.). Subfossil material has also been recorded from the Ripon Hills in the range country of the eastern Pilbara (Baynes and McDowell 2010). It is likely that in central Australia and the western deserts Djoongari occurred on the outwash fans of ranges as these were high productivity areas (A.  Baynes pers. comm.).

Djoongari do not appear to use burrows as commonly as most other Pseudomys species. They are known to construct tunnels and runways in heaps of seagrass piled up on Bernier Island beaches during winter storms (Robinson et al. 1976) and use above ground nests as diurnal refuges. More use of burrows is made during the breeding season (Morris and Speldewinde 1992). Animals translocated to Doole Island used hollows located in White Mangrove Avicennia marina trees above high water level as well as sites among rocks and under Triodia for daytime refuges (Morris et al. 2000).

Generation Length (years):2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Pseudomys field is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Climate change is a moderate threat (Shark Bay Islands): lower rainfall is predicted by climate models for south-west and central west coastal areas of Western Australia including Shark Bay (Cleugh et al. 2011).

Predation by feral Domestic Cats (Felis catus), Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and Black Rats (Rattus rattus) could have severe to catastrophic effects if they establish on island. Feral Cats and Red Foxes have caused the extinction of medium-sized mammals on arid Australian islands (Burbidge and Manly 2002), and Black Rats are associated with native mammal extinctions on island (Burbidge and Manly 2002).

Altered fire patterns due to introduced pasture grasses on Faure Island (unknown effect, (Faure Island): threat of fire is exacerbated by Buffel Grass Cenchrus ciliaris invasion (Legge et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Bernier Island is a Class A nature reserve managed by the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife. Faure Island is leased and managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. North West Island is part of the Montebello Islands Conservation Park, managed by Parks and Wildlife.

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Pseudomys fieldi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18549A22398445. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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