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Dasyurus spartacus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DASYUROMORPHIA DASYURIDAE

Scientific Name: Dasyurus spartacus
Species Authority: Van Dyck, 1988
Common Name(s):
English Bronze Quoll
French Chat Marsupial Bronzé
Synonym(s):
Satanellus spartacus (Van Dyck, 1987)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Leary, T., Seri, L., Flannery, T., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R. & Woolley, P.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Near Threatened. The Bronze Quoll, D. spartacus, has a fairly restricted distribution (extent of occurrence ~26,600 km2), and although poorly known (only twelve museum specimens), it is almost certain that there are less than 10,000 mature individuals. By inference from the decline observed in Dasyurus species in Australia, most significantly in its closest relative D. geoffroii geoffroii (a subspecies that is now presumed extinct) and D. g. fortis (the subject of major recovery efforts), it is plausible that this species is also undergoing continuing decline. There are life history and ecological characteristics common to the genus that render them susceptible to very rapid and widespread population declines and range size reductions. However, there is not sufficient information to trigger a Vulnerable listing, hence it is listed as Near Threatened because it almost meets criterion C2.
History:
1996 Vulnerable (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Dasyurus spartacus is the only mammal in New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) restricted to the Trans-Fly ecoregion in the southern part of the island that cannot also be found in Northern Australia (Helgen and Oliver 2004). This species is thought to range in elevation from 0 m to 200 m asl (S. Hamilton pers. comm.), but it has only been recorded from 0 m to 60 m asl. It has not been recorded north of the Fly River although patches of suitable habitat exist in these areas.
Countries:
Native:
Indonesia; Papua New Guinea
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species was described from 5 specimens (2 juveniles, 1 adult male, and 2 adult females) (Van Dyck 1988), and it is now known from a total of only 12 museum specimens. Locals report it to be common in parts of the Trans-Fly region, and there are several local language names for this species across its range (S. Hamilton pers. comm.).

It was first found in 1972 (Waithman 1979). Earlier mammal surveys in the region, including those of the 1936-37 Archbold expedition (Rand and Brass 1940) and Jentink (1907), did not find it. Four specimens were collected by P. A. Woolley in 1991 (Woolley 2001). Seven weeks of targeted trapping with between 100 and 150 traps per night in the Trans-Fly in 2006 (at both Mibini and Serki) resulted in only 12 records of this species, eight of which were captured in traps; the other four were obtained from local hunters (S. Hamilton pers. comm.).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a nocturnal predatory species occurring in savanna woodlands. The habitat is reduced during the wet season when much of the lower lying areas are inundated with water, confining both predator and prey species to smaller "islands” of habitat. Individuals have been caught raiding chicken houses, and there is a report from locals of a female with young being found in a newly dug (empty) pit toilet at Serki village in April 2006.

Little is known about the biology of this species; Woolley (2001) has recorded observations on reproduction and suggested that this species is a seasonal breeder. A clear distinction in size and weight among 12 individuals was observed, suggesting that two cohorts were represented (S. Hamilton pers. comm.). It is thought to live for a maximum of three years.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunting of this species is largely incidental (it is not a major food item).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Bronze Quolls are possibly affected indirectly by human hunting practices. People in the region use dogs for tracking and locating other game species. When hunting dogs locate quolls, they reportedly kill them. Predation likely also occurs from feral dogs. Introduced feral cats were found breeding in areas between Morehead and Mibini in 2006 within several hundred meters of sites where Bronze Quolls were trapped. Feral cats have not been recorded previously in the Trans-Fly region. The impact of cats on this species is unknown, but one specimen obtained by Woolley was killed by a cat (P. Woolley pers. comm.).

There is a predicted loss of Bronze Quoll habitat due to invasive weeds (e.g., Mimosa), and altered fire regimes. The greatest threat from invasive species, however, could be from cane toads (Bufo marinus) and the toxins they possess, which are lethal to many vertebrates if consumed. Cane toads are a potential threat given the localised extinction of its congener D. hallucatus in the Northern Territory, which coincided with the range expansion of toads across northern Australia in recent times (Oakwood and Foster 2008). At present, this threat remains speculative given the fact that cane toads have not yet arrived and the effects of cane toads on this species are unknown.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in Wassur National Park (Papua Province, Indonesia) and Tonda Wildlife Mangement Area (Papua New Guinea). Further studies into the distribution, natural history, and threats to Bronze Quolls are needed (especially interactions with introduced species).

Citation: Leary, T., Seri, L., Flannery, T., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R. & Woolley, P. 2008. Dasyurus spartacus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 July 2014.
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