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Potorous tridactylus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Diprotodontia Potoroidae

Scientific Name: Potorous tridactylus
Species Authority: (Kerr, 1792)
Common Name(s):
English Long-nosed Potoroo

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-05-28
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Johnson, C.N.
Contributor(s): Murray, A., Eldridge, M., Menkhorst, P., Lunney, D., Claridge, A. & Goldingay, R.
The species  still has a large distribution range, and is well above the thresholds for Vulnerable on the basis of extent of occurrence and area of occupancy. However, an overall decline in population size is inferred and projected, at a rate approaching but not >30% over 9-12 years (=three generations). The causes of this are increasing intensity of destructive wildfires within the species range, effects of habitat fragmentation, and continuing impacts of invasive predators, especially the Red Fox. The Long-nosed Potoroo is therefore listed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion A2ce.

Population size cannot be estimated reliably. Population trends vary across the range, with general pattern of decline (particularly for the northern subspecies) but some local increases evident in areas subjected to effective control of the Red Fox.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 2008 – Least Concern (LC)
  • 1996 – Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Long-nosed Potoroo has a patchy distribution along the coast and the Great Dividing range of the south-east Australian mainland, from south-eastern Queensland in the north, through coastal New South Wales, Victoria, and marginally in south-eastern South Australia. It is also occurs on the Bass Strait islands and Tasmania (Johnston 2008).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:100000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:473000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:On the mainland, the Long-nosed Potoroo is rare, and populations are extremely fragmented; the species may undergo fluctuations in numbers. It is also rare on the Bass Straits islands but is more common in Tasmania (Johnston 2008). Subfossil remains suggest that the species was formerly more widespread. The reasons for decline are unclear, however, habitat loss through clearance of native vegetation is likely to have at least partly caused a decline in populations (Johnston 2008). The species is susceptible to effects of forest fragmentation, being rarely found in forest patches smaller than approximately 30 ha (Bennett 1990).

There has been no robust estimate of the population size of this species, nor that of most subpopulations. However, this species usually occurs in small populations with low recruitment and low turnover of individuals (Bennett 1987). Density is reported to vary from 0.2-2.5 individuals per hectare (Heinsohn 1968; Mason 1997; Frankham et al. 2011).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:75000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Long-nosed Potoroo occurs in a range of vegetation types characterized by dense understoreys, including shrublands, coastal scrub, heathlands, forest and woodlands, and rainforests (Seebeck et al. 1989; Johnston 2008; Norton et al. 2010). It is often most likely to occur near creeks or gullies. Optimal habitat often includes a mosaic of different vegetation types, with denser vegetation used for shelter and more open areas for foraging (Seebeck 1981; Bennett 1993; Norton et al. 2010). Hypogeal (underground-fruiting) fungi comprise most of the diet (Claridge et al. 1993). The species provides significant ecosystem services through its foraging for hypogea fungi, in two ways. First, digging for fungi produces substantial turnover of soil, which improves soil condition and water infiltration (Fleming et al. 2014). Second, the Long-nosed Potoroo disperses spores of these fungi in its faeces. Because these fungi are mycorrhizal, feeding by the Potoroo promotes formation of mycorrhiza and benefits many plant species (Claridge et al. 1992). The diet also includes some invertebrates, fruits, seeds, leaves, roots, and flowers (Bennett and Baxter 1989).

Long-nosed Potoroos are mostly solitary. Home range size is 1-19 ha, with home ranges larger in males than females (Kitchener 1973; Long 2001). The species shows limited dispersal ability (A. Murray pers. comm. 2014). Reproduction occurs year-round, with a single young produced at a time (Guiler 1960; Bryant 1989; Norton et al. 2011; Frankham et al. 2011). Females typically produce 2-3 young per year (Bennett 1987; Seebeck et al. 1989). Sexual maturity is reached at one year (Bennett 1987; Bryant 1989), and longevity can be at least seven years (Guiler and Kitchener 1967) but is more generally four to five years (Martin and Temple-Smith 2012). Generation length is around three years.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):3-4
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

In the past, this species was persecuted (by shooting, trapping and poisoning) as an assumed agricultural pest, and hunted for its hide and meat, with large numbers killed (Short 1998; Claridge et al. 2007).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat is predation, especially by the invasive Red Fox (Brown and Triggs 1990; Lunney et al. 1990, 2002; Short 1998; Martin and Temple-Smith 2012), but also by wild dogs and feral cats. Habitat quality is affected by clearing and fragmentation, fires that are too frequent or too intense, livestock, and timber harvesting (Bennett 1993; Norton et al. 2011; Martin and Temple-Smith 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Long-nosed Potoroo occurs in many conservation reserves, where it is protected from some threats. Fox control is conducted in and around some sites (particularly in New South Wales and Victoria), and fire management is considered explicitly in some management planning (Martin and Temple-Smith 2012). Management investment and protection is generally greater on the Australian mainland (where subspecies are listed as threatened) than in Tasmania.

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Potorous tridactylus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41511A21960633. . Downloaded on 30 June 2016.
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