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Dasycercus blythi

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DASYUROMORPHIA DASYURIDAE

Scientific Name: Dasycercus blythi
Species Authority: (Waite, 1904)
Common Name(s):
English Brush-tailed Mulgara
French Rat Marsupial À Queue Crêtée De Hillier
Synonym(s):
Dasycerus hillieri (Thomas, 1905)
Taxonomic Notes: Dasycercus blythi was originally described as distinct from D. cristicauda, but for more than thirty years it was assumed to be synonymous with that species (e.g., Groves 1993, 2005; Woolley 1995; Maxwell et al. 1996). Adams et al. (2000) conducted a limited molecular study of the genus Dasycercus and determined that there were two species to which the names D. cristicauda and D. hillieri were assigned. It has since been established that the correct names for the two species are D. blythi and D. cristicauda (Woolley 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Woolley, P.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
History:
1996 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Brush-tailed Mulgara is endemic to Australia, where it is widely distributed in arid regions of the central and western parts of the country. Because the re-recognition of D. blythi as a species has been so recent the identity of museum specimens must be re-checked before the true range limits of both it and D. cristicauda can be determined (Woolley 2005, 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The Brush-tailed Mulgara currently occurs in scattered populations at fairly low density, but may be locally abundant (D. Pearson pers. comm.) – such as in the Tanami Desert and Uluru National Park (Gibson and Cole 1992; Masters 1993, 1998). The density of Brush-tailed Mulgaras fluctuates depending on long-term climatic conditions (Gibson and Cole 1992). The population also fluctuates annually, declining during breeding season (June to October) and increasing following the influx of juveniles in the spring (Masters 1993, 1997, 1998). There have been no recent declines, as the species appears to be relatively secure within its present range (Masters 2005).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occupies spinifex (Triodia spp.) grasslands, and burrows in flats between sand dunes. It is generally a solitary species that hunts at night, although it is not strictly nocturnal (Woolley 2008).

This species has a wide ranging diet that includes various types of invertebrates, reptiles, and small mammals (Chen et al. 1998; Masters 1998; Turner 2004). It produces one litter per year (Lee et al. 1982) with a maximum litter size of six and a sex ratio of 1:1 (Baker 1996; Masters 1997, 1998). The breeding season is June to October (Masters 1997). Individuals of both sexes can survive for more than one breeding season, with only a very small proportion of the population surviving to the third year (Masters 1997). In captivity Brush-tailed Mulgaras can live up to five years of age (Woolley 1971). This species is solitary with a home range of 1.4 to 14 ha (Manson 1994; Masters 2003).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats to this species. Its habitat has been adversely affected by the grazing of introduced species (e.g., camels, rabbits, cattle), and changes to the fire regime. However, losses in spinifex cover probably do not adversely affect the species as long as at least 15% cover is maintained (Masters et al. 2003). It is also possible that predation by introduced feral cats and foxes may threaten this species. Climate change is likely to pose a threat to this species in the future (Masters 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is known from a number of protected areas.

Citation: Woolley, P. 2008. Dasycercus blythi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 December 2014.
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