Zyzomys palatalis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Zyzomys palatalis Kitchener, 1989
Common Name(s):
English Carpentarian Rock-rat
Zyzomys palatilis Kitchener, 1989 [orth. error]
Taxonomic Notes: This species is listed as Zyzomys palatilis by Musser and Carleton (2005), but the correct spelling is Z. palatalis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-06-05
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Ward, S.
Listed as Critically Endangered because its area of occupancy is less than 10 km2, all individuals are in single location subject to the threat of fire, and habitat quality is probably declining (Woinarski et al. 2014).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Australia where it is known from five gorges and associated rocky areas in rocky sandstone ranges in the Northern Territory near the border with Queensland, Australia (Lee 1995, Puckey 2003, Puckey et al. 2008, Woinarski et al. 2014). Despite recent targeted searches, it has not been found in similar habitat in nearby areas of Queensland (White and Mason 2011). The former range of the species is not known (Lee 1995, Puckey 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Northern Territory)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:4000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species was first described in 1986 and is known from very few specimens (Puckey 2001). Woinarski et al. (2014) estimated that there were approximately 700 individuals at Moonlight Gorge and 450 at Banyon Gorge, the two largest subpopulations. However, this did not include information from the most recent sampling, in 2008, which instead estimated these subpopulations to be 280 and 204 individuals (Ward 2010). No estimates have been made for the other sites, but these are considerably smaller (Puckey 2001). Woinarski et al. (2014) estimated the total population size to be 2,000 mature individuals. Based on population estimates from the 2008 (i.e. the most recent) sampling, Ward (2010) instead considered it to be fewer than 1,000 mature individuals.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
No. of subpopulations:6Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This  species is found only in a specific habitat type in a highly restricted area (Puckey et al. 2008). It is known from patches of monsoon vine thicket growing on scree slopes, and fringing escarpments, typically in sandstone gorges. It is also found in woodlands surrounding rainforest patches (Woinarski et al. 2014).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The threats to this species are poorly resolved. Its habitat is very limited, and likely to be affected by prevailing fire regimes. Some evidence suggests that habitat has expanded (Brook et al. 2002, Bowman et al. 2006, Brook and Bowman 2006), but this was not based on any on-ground assessment of habitat quality, and appears to be inconsistent with current severe fire regimes in the region (Perry et al. 2011). Predation by feral cats may be a threat (Puckey 2001, Woinarski et al. 2014). Mining occurs at or adjacent to parts of their range (Puckey 2003). The entire range lies within a single pastoral (cattle ranching) property, and cattle may affect habitat quality, although most of the preferred habitat (rugged rocky topography) is little used by cattle (Lee 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is not known from any protected areas, and is subject to no targeted conservation activity. Monitoring is needed, along with more effective fire control. The recovery plan for this species is now dated (Puckey et al. 2003).  Brook et al. (2002) reported that the most pressing management requirement was to limit uncontrolled fire (through preventative control burning around periphery of known sites). A captive breeding program was successfully maintaine dfor several years, but since abandoned. A trial introduction (to Limmen Bight conservation reserve) failed (Ward 2010).

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Zyzomys palatalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T23327A22457211. . Downloaded on 19 October 2017.
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