Antechinus bellus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Dasyuromorphia Dasyuridae

Scientific Name: Antechinus bellus
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1904)
Common Name(s):
English Fawn Antechinus, Fawn Marsupial Mouse
French Souris Marsupiale Jolie
Taxonomic Source(s): Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. (eds). 2005. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographical Reference. Third edition. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2be ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-03-15
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Hawkins, C.
Contributor(s): Firth, R., Ward, S. & Oakwood, M.

The population size of the Fawn Antechinus has declined by >30% over 10 years, estimated from a small series of monitoring programs across the limited range. Note that some declines of >50% and >80% have been recorded in some of these monitoring sites, but overall decline of >50% (and hence Endangered status) is unlikely.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Australia, where it is distributed in the tropical monsoonal part of the Northern Territory (Watson and Calaby 2008). It is present in Kakadu National Park and Litchfield National Park. With the exception of one individual reported in a brief sampling event on Melville Island (Horner and Griffiths 1998), it has not been recorded on any islands, notwithstanding much recent survey effort on islands of northern Australia, including a far more extensive and intensive sampling on Melville Island (e.g. Woinarski et al. 1999, 2011; Firth et al. 2006). The mainland limits of its range are poorly defined. A series of recent surveys has failed to record it across central and eastern Arnhem Land (Gambold et al. 1995, Brennan et al. 2003, Woinarski et al. 2008), where it was reported in the 1930s and 1940s (Johnson 1964, Dixon and Huxley 1985).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Northern Territory)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:2000-100000,10000-20000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:53746
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:2Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is patchily distributed, even in appropriate habitat. There are no published estimates of the number of individuals in any subpopulation, or overall. The Fawn Antechinus may be locally abundant, but abundance may change seasonally and between years (Friend 1985). In a 30 month study at Kapalga (Kakadu National Park), Friend (1985) reported trap success rates of 4.5%; and in the 12 ha study area, the number of individuals known to be alive varied between about 3 and 35. This density is likely to be substantially higher than that now typical. Results of recent monitoring studies also indicate that the population size is currently declining (Woinarski et al. 2001, 2010, 2014).
Threats are poorly understood, but if current trends continue, and assuming no improvement in threat management, population reduction may continue into the future.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:10000-100000, 20000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:10-100,20Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Fawn Antechinus is a nocturnal, generalist predator of invertebrates and small vertebrates.  It is partly arboreal. It occurs mostly in open forests and woodlands dominated by Darwin Woollybutt Eucalyptus miniata and/or Darwin Stringybark E. tetrodonta, particularly where these forests have a relatively dense shrubby understorey (Friend 1985; Friend and Taylor 1985). Such vegetation structure is typical of a regime with a low frequency or intensity of fires, and the Fawn Antechinus declines in areas with frequent intense fire (Corbett et al. 2003); however, it is not especially common in areas from which fire has been excluded for long periods (>20 years) (Woinarski et al. 2004). Breeding is seasonal, with young born in September and October; typically, litter size is ten (Friend 1985, Baker and Van Dyck 2013). There is synchronous male die-off after mating, but some females survive to a second and rarely third breeding season (Calaby and Taylor 1981, Friend 1985).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):1
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is likely to be disadvantaged by the current regime of frequent and extensive fire (Corbett et al. 2003, Woinarski et al. 2010), predation by feral cats (Woinarski et al. 2011) and some loss of its extensive habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is present in several protected areas (e.g., Kakadu National Park and Litchfield National Park). Further studies are needed into possible threats (response to fire and toads) to the species. Monitoring is needed, along with increased management of the area.

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Antechinus bellus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T40523A21946388. . Downloaded on 24 October 2016.
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