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Notoryctes typhlops

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA NOTORYCTEMORPHIA NOTORYCTIDAE

Scientific Name: Notoryctes typhlops
Species Authority: (Stirling, 1889)
Common Name(s):
English Itjaritjari, Southern Marsupial Mole, Marsupial Mole
French Grande Taupe Marsupiale

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Dickman, C., Burbidge, A., Aplin, K. & Benshemesh, J.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Data Deficient because, although it has been recorded over a relatively wide area little is known about its population numbers and threats.
History:
1996 Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Itjaritjari, or Southern Marsupial Mole, is known from the central deserts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Australia. Both it and Notoryctes caurinus have been recorded in the vicinity of Warburton and may be sympatric there (Benshemesh 2004). All specimens north of Warburton and west of the Northern Territory border have been identified as N. caurinus. In addition, both species may be found in the Tanami Desert, however, this is unclear (Benshemesh 2004). Recent technique of cutting trenches in sand dunes to reveal burrows has extended the known distribution into the Simpson Desert.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (South Australia, Western Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population estimates are not available at this time, although populations are being investigated, and in most areas they do not appear to be especially sparse. They do appear to be confined to large and continuous dunefields (J. Benshemesh pers. comm.). There are new techniques that allow for easier collection of data on this species, and possibly N. caurinus as well (Benshemesh 2008; J. Benshemesh pers. comm.).

Langford and Pavey (2002) claim that the population of this species is less than 10,000 individuals, and that there is an estimated continuing decline of at least 10% within 10 years. Both Pearson and Turner (2000) and Benshemesh (2004) have questioned any decline.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a fossorial species; it burrows within sand dunes, interdunal flats, and in sandy soils along river flats. It occasionally emerges onto the surface, especially after rain (Maxwell et al. 1996). The species remains largely underground. This species is not able to travel large distances across hard ground, thus continuous areas of suitable habitat are likely important (Benshemesh 2004). The diet of this species consists primarily of ants (and their eggs) and termites (Langford and Pavey 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Little is known about major threats to this species. It is an arid zone Critical Weight Range species (Burbidge and McKenzie 1989); around 90% of such taxa have either become extinct or have declined seriously in range and/or abundance. Operating threatening processes may include predation by foxes (which are capable of taking animals on or near the surface) and feral cats (Benshemesh 2008). It may be hunted by dingoes (there is evidence of presence in fox and dingo scat). In the past, the species was hunted by Aboriginal people. Other potential threats to this species include changed fire regimes, and habitat changes caused by the trampling of cattle and camels (Benshemesh 2004). Climate change may also be a threat to this species in the future, as projected changes in rainfall and temperature would cause changes in biota (Benshemesh 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is found in Watarrka National Park and Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park (Langford and Pavey 2002).

The Recovery Plan Objectives and Actions for this species are (Benshemesh 2004): 1) Resolve taxonomic issues; 2) Describe the distribution, abundance, and lineages; 3) Determine population trends; 4) Provide preliminary information on threat of fire, introduced predators (foxes and cats), and grazing; 5) Describe activity patterns and behaviour; 6) Obtain ecological information from Aboriginal elders; 7) Examine diet, reproduction, and general condition of surfacing animals; 8) Prepare for captive individuals brought to Desert Park; 9) Manage the recovery process with a recovery team; 10) Downlist species from endangered to a lower category of threat.

Bibliography [top]

Benshemesh, J. 2004. Recovery Plan for the Marsupial Moles Notoryctes typhlops and N. caurinus 2005-2010. Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning, and Environment, Alice Springs.

Benshemesh, J. 2008. Itjaritjari, Notoryctes typhlops. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 412-413. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Burbidge, A. A., Johnson, K. A., Fuller, P. J. and Southgate, R. I. 1988. Aboriginal knowledge of the mammals of the central deserts of Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 15: 9-39.

Johnson, K. A. and Walton, D. W. 1989. Notoryctidae. In: D. W. Walton and B. J. Richardson (eds), Fauna of Australia, pp. 591-602. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, Australia.

Langford, D. and Pavey, C. 2002. Southern Marsupial Mole: Notoryctes typhlops. Threatened Species of the Northern Territory.

Maxwell, S., Burbidge, A. A. and Morris, K. 1996. The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. Australasian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland.


Citation: Dickman, C., Burbidge, A., Aplin, K. & Benshemesh, J. 2008. Notoryctes typhlops. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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