Sminthopsis psammophila 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Dasyuromorphia Dasyuridae

Scientific Name: Sminthopsis psammophila
Species Authority: Spencer, 1895
Common Name(s):
English Sandhill Dunnart, Sandhill Sminthopsis, Large Desert Marsupial-mouse
French Souris Marsupiale Du Désert
Spanish Ratón Marsupial Desértico
Antechinomys psammophila (Spencer, 1895)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v); C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Robinson, T., Gaikhorst, G., Pearson, D. & Copley, P.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Endangered because this species has an area of occupancy of less that 500 km2 (and probably an extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 km2, but it is mapped wider to encourage survey work), all individuals are known from less than 6 locations, and there is a continuing decline in: area of occupancy, extent and quality of habitat, number of locations, and number of mature individuals. The overall population is estimated to be less than 2,500 mature individuals and there has been a recent decline of more than 20% over the last 5 years that is continuing.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Vulnerable (V)
1990 Insufficiently Known (K)
1988 Insufficiently Known (K)
1986 Insufficiently Known (K)
1982 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species was described from an animal collected in the Northern Territory in the late nineteenth century, however, it has not been recorded in this area since that time. Its current distribution includes areas of South Australia and Western Australia (south-western corner of the Great Victoria Desert) (Maxwell et al. 1996). There are only two known range isolates within South Australia, and there have been some surveys in apparently suitable habitat between these two that have failed to locate additional populations. Surveys into eastern Western Australia also have been unsuccessful in recording the species.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (South Australia, Western Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is considered rare and is seldom collected and known from a few scattered localities (Pearson and Churchill 2008). From August 1999 to May 2001 a survey for this species was conducted in the southern Great Victoria Desert and Eyre Peninsula, which collected 29 specimens at five sites (Churchill 2001). Previously, from 1894 to 1999, this species was known from 31 individuals (Churchill 2001). It has been lost from 2 of 3 known sites in the Yellabinna Wilderness Protection Area since 1984.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is usually found is association with sand dunes with an understorey of Triodia (spinifex) hummock grass, and a overstorey that is can vary widely in species composition (Pearson and Churchill 2008). Little is known about the reproduction of this species; females have been seem with four and five young (Pearson and Churchill 2008). It appears that this species mates in September, with young born in September/ October, and pouch young weaned in December/ January (Churchill 2001). The diet of this species consists of a wide variety of invertebrates and some small reptiles and mammals (Churchill 2001).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There is a continuing decline in area of occupancy, extent and quality of habitat, number of locations, and number of mature individuals. due to predation from introduced species such as foxes and cats, combined with habitat modifications caused by changed fire regimes and the presence of livestock (Churchill 2001). Further research is needed to quantify these threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. It is present in at least two protected areas: Queen Victoria Spring Nature Reserve and Yellabinna Wilderness Protection Area. There is a published recovery plan (Churchill 2001). A captive breeding program has begun at the Perth Zoo. Surveys are ongoing in the South Australia section of the Great Victoria Desert by the Department for Environment and Heritage, South Australia.

Churchill (2001) lists several recovery actions, including: prevent further clearance of suitable habitat on Eyre Peninsula; conduct experimental burns in suitable habitat to promote the growth of spinifex on Eyre Peninsula; conduct a detailed biological survey of Eyre Peninsula and further surveys of the Great Victoria Desert; encourage the use of deep pitfall traps in small mammal surveys in central Australia and the northern regions of the Great Victoria Desert; implement monitoring programs for the key populations; study the species in captivity to examine reproductive biology.

Citation: Robinson, T., Gaikhorst, G., Pearson, D. & Copley, P. 2008. Sminthopsis psammophila. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T20293A9183034. . Downloaded on 27 May 2016.
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