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Sminthopsis aitkeni

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DASYUROMORPHIA DASYURIDAE

Scientific Name: Sminthopsis aitkeni
Species Authority: Kitchener, Stoddart & Henry, 1984
Common Name(s):
English Kangaroo Island Dunnart
French Souris Marsupiale De L´île Kangourou
Synonym(s):
Antechinomys aitkeni Krefft, 1867
Sminthopsis murina (Waterhouse, 1838)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): van Weenen, J.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence is now thought to be less than 100 km2, all individuals are within a single location, and there is continuing decline in: the extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, the extent and quality of its habitat, number of locations, and number of mature individuals on Kangaroo Island. This species is known to have occupied a wider range on Kangaroo Island, but it has not been found outside one small area since before 1991 despite extensive survey work, and the habitat where the old records are from appears to be no longer suitable.
History:
1996 Endangered
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known only from Kangaroo Island, South Australia. All recent captures (since 1990) have come from the western end of Kangaroo Island in Flinders Chase National Park. Earlier records of the species came from the eastern end of the island, but it is likely no longer present there due to habitat modification (Gates 2001a,b). It has been recorded from near sea level to 270 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (South Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Prior to the most recent detailed surveys Kangaroo Island Dunnart was known only from seven specimens and three other records. An additional 22 records were obtained between 2000 and 2001 when the last surveys were undertaken using a full range of survey techniques (particularly pitfall traps) (Gates 2001a,b). Gates (2001b) estimates the total population of Kangaroo Island Dunnarts to be less than 500 individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Kangaroo Island Dunnarts have been recorded from areas receiving between 480 and 800 mm annual rainfall. Of the 22 most recent records, 14 were collected from Eucalyptus remota/E. cosmophylla open low mallee, four from E. baxteri low woodland and three from E. baxteri/E. remota low open woodland (Gates 2001a,b). The diet of this species consists mostly of spiders, ants, beetles, scorpions, and sometimes centipedes and grasshoppers (Gates 2001a,b). Males usually survive for only one breeding season, while females may survive to breed a second year (Gates 2001a,b).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Kangaroo Island Dunnarts are known from six trapping sites, but these should be treated as one location in terms of the IUCN Red List because they are all subject to a potential single catastrophic event and all may represent a single population (Gates 2001b).

Wildfires are the greatest potential threat facing Kangaroo Island Dunnarts and a single large wildfire could eliminate the species. Inappropriate fires management exacerbates the potential for an extensive fire. Another threat to Kangaroo Island Dunnarts is Phytophthorra cinnamomi, a water mold, that is destroying many heath species in the area, resulting in general changes in habitat structure that probably affect the species. Kangaroo Island Dunnarts may also be affected by introduced cats, although their impact is not well known (Gates 2001b). On the eastern end of Kangaroo Island, the preferred habitat of this species has been degraded by stock grazing, weeds, and other processes associated with fragmentation, such as land clearance for agriculture (Gates 2001b).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The entire known range of the species falls within Flinders Chase National Park. It is listed as Endangered Nationally (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) and in South Australia (Schedule 7, National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972). In the recovery plan for this species, Gates (2001b) lists the following actions as being needed:

1) Site protection and management of known populations.
2) Clarification of distribution and threatening processes.
3) Investigation of ecology and biology.
4) Increase community awareness.
5) Establishment of a captive colony.
6) Recovery planning.

Citation: van Weenen, J. 2008. Sminthopsis aitkeni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 November 2014.
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