Pseudomys fieldi 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Pseudomys fieldi
Species Authority: (Waite, 1896)
Common Name(s):
English Djoongari, Shark Bay Mouse, Alice Springs Mouse
Spanish Ratón Bastardo Peludo
Pseudomys praeconis Thomas, 1910
Taxonomic Notes:

No subspecies are recognised for Pseudomys fieldi. The original Shark Bay specimen was described as Pseudomys praeconis, but research demonstrated that P. praeconis should be synonymised with P. fieldi, described from a single Alice Springs specimen (Baynes 1990).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2012-12-31
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Kabat, X., Morris, K., Baynes, A., Legge, S. & Richards, J.
The Djoongari became extinct on mainland Australia in the late 1800s and it then became naturally restricted to Bernier Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia. It has been successfully reintroduced (assisted colonisation) to North West Island, Montebello Islands (1999), and to Faure Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia (2002), and now occurs as three subpopulations at three locations. Because of the failure of some recent translocations, and the drying climate in Shark Bay, there are plausible threats to individual islands, and the species could become Critically Endangered in a very short time period
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Subfossil material has revealed that the Djoongari formerly occurred in subtropical, semi-arid and arid Western Australia, including Dirk Hartog and Faure Islands (Baynes 2008), South Australia (apart from the south-east), the arid areas of the Northern Territory, and as far east as Mootwingee National Park in New South Wales (Baynes 1990, Morris et al. 2000, Burbidge et al. 2009, Alexander Baynes pers. comm). In Western Australia, it occurred all along the west coast from North West Cape to Cape Leeuwin (latter record in Archer and Baynes 1973). It apparently became extinct on the mainland many decades ago, with the last specimen being collected at Alice Springs in 1895. The only other mainland specimen came from Peron Peninsula, Shark Bay, in 1858, where recent searches have failed to locate it (Sanders and Harold 1990). It survived only on Bernier Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia.

The current range is Bernier (41.5 km²) and Faure Islands (48 km²) (Shark Bay), and North West (Montebello) (1.2 km²) Island, Western Australia. Assisted colonisation translocations to Heirisson Prong and Doole Island (Exmouth Gulf) failed. It has recently been reintroduced to a mainland island at Lorna Glen in the eastern Murchison of Western Australia (37 animals in 2011 and 51 in 2012: DEC 2012) and this subpopulation is being monitored. It will likely be reintroduced to a fenced mainland island at Mt Gibson Sanctuary (Australian Wildlife Conservancy) in 2015.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Western Australia)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:90Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:90
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:3Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


In 1992 it was estimated that there were c. 6000-7000 individuals on Bernier Island (Morris and Speldewinde 1992). Djoongari are abundant on Faure and North West Islands, but no population estimates have been undertaken. Numbers would vary with seasonal conditions.

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:10000Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

On Bernier Island, the Djoongari inhabits coastal dune vegetation dominated by Beach Spinifex Spinifex longifolius and Coastal Daisybush Olearia axillaris (Ride and Tyndale-Biscoe 1962, Robinson et al. 1976, Morris and Robinson 2008). It occurs in most coastal sandy areas around the island (Morris et al. 2000), and at lower densities in inland Triodia/Acacia heath (Robinson et al. 1976). Little is known of the former habitat use on the mainland. On the Shark Bay mainland it was last collected in coastal Beach Spinifex at Herald Bight. Translocated animals on Doole Island appeared to prefer coastal habitats (including mangrove hollows) while they persisted (Morris et al. 2000). There is no clear habitat preference on Faure Island, as they are found ubiquitously across the island (Kabat et al. 2012).

Subfossil material suggests that the Shark Bay Mouse did not occur on deep sandy soils on the mainland. It is not recorded from the Great Sandy Desert (where the Desert Mouse P. desertor was the medium-sized rodent), and is only abundant in cave deposits in the MacDonnell Ranges, Uluru, Flinders Ranges, Shark Bay and the Nullarbor (where it occurs in the older levels of deposits because it was largely or entirely replaced by the Desert Mouse in the late Holocene: A. Baynes pers. comm.). Subfossil material has also been recorded from the Ripon Hills in the range country of the eastern Pilbara (Baynes and McDowell 2010). It is likely that in central Australia and the western deserts Djoongari occurred on the outwash fans of ranges as these were high productivity areas (A.  Baynes pers. comm.).

Djoongari do not appear to use burrows as commonly as most other Pseudomys species. They are known to construct tunnels and runways in heaps of seagrass piled up on Bernier Island beaches during winter storms (Robinson et al. 1976) and use above ground nests as diurnal refuges. More use of burrows is made during the breeding season (Morris and Speldewinde 1992). Animals translocated to Doole Island used hollows located in White Mangrove Avicennia marina trees above high water level as well as sites among rocks and under Triodia for daytime refuges (Morris et al. 2000).

Generation Length (years):2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Pseudomys field is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Climate change is a moderate threat (Shark Bay Islands): lower rainfall is predicted by climate models for south-west and central west coastal areas of Western Australia including Shark Bay (Cleugh et al. 2011).

Predation by feral Domestic Cats (Felis catus), Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and Black Rats (Rattus rattus) could have severe to catastrophic effects if they establish on island. Feral Cats and Red Foxes have caused the extinction of medium-sized mammals on arid Australian islands (Burbidge and Manly 2002), and Black Rats are associated with native mammal extinctions on island (Burbidge and Manly 2002).

Altered fire patterns due to introduced pasture grasses on Faure Island (unknown effect, (Faure Island): threat of fire is exacerbated by Buffel Grass Cenchrus ciliaris invasion (Legge et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Bernier Island is a Class A nature reserve managed by the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife. Faure Island is leased and managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. North West Island is part of the Montebello Islands Conservation Park, managed by Parks and Wildlife.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.2. Benign introduction

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):91-100
  Area based regional management plan:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:Yes
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.1. Increase in fire frequency/intensity
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Very Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:High Impact: 8 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Felis catus ]
♦ timing:Future ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Very Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Vulpes vulpes ]
♦ timing:Future ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Very Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Rattus rattus ]
♦ timing:Future ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Very Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.2. Competition

1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

AnAge. 2012. The animal aging and longevity database. Available at:

Archer, M. and Baynes, A. 1973. Prehistoric mammal faunas from two small caves in the extreme southwest of Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 55: 80-89.

Baynes, A. 1990. The mammals of Shark Bay, Western Australia. In: P.F. Berry, S.D. Bradshaw and B.R. Wilson (eds), Research in Shark Bay: report of the France-Australe Bicentenary Expedition Committee. Western Australian Museum, Perth.

Baynes, A. 2008. The original mammal fauna of Faure Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement No. 75: 25-31.

Baynes, A. and McDowell, M.C. 2011. The original mammal fauna of the Pilbara biogeographic region of north-western Australia. In: A.S. George, N.L. McKenzie, and P. Doughty (eds), A Biodiversity Survey of the Pilbara Region of Western Australia, 2002-2007. Supplement No. 78, Part 1. Records of the Western Australian Museum.

Burbidge, A.A. and Manly, B.F.J. 2002. Mammal extinctions on Australian islands: causes and conservation implications. Journal of Biogeography 29: 465-474.

Burbidge, A.A., McKenzie, N.L., Brennan, K.E.C., Woinarski, J. C. Z., Dickman, C. R., Baynes, A., Gordon, G., Menkhorst, P.W. and Robinson, A.C. 2009. Conservation status and biogeography of Australia’s terrestrial mammals. Australian Journal of Zoology 56: 411-422.

Cleugh, H., Stafford Smith, M., Battaglia, M. and Graham, P. 2011. Climate change: science and solutions for Australia. CSIRO, Canberra.

DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation). 2012. Gorgon Gas Development - Threatened and priority species translocation and reintroduction program – Annual Report 2011/12. Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth.

IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Species Survival Commision. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Kabat, A. P., Legge, S. and Page, M. 2012. Ecological health of Faure Island Wildlife Sanctuary 2011. Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Perth.

Lee, A.K. 1995. The Action Plan for Australian Rodents. Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra, Australia.

Legge, S., Kanowski, J., Page, M., and Kabat, A.P. 2012. A plan for measuring the ecological health of Faure Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Perth.

Morris, K. and Richards, J. 2008. Pseudomys fieldi. In 'The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species'. Version 2011.2. Available at: (Accessed: 15 April 2012).

Morris, K.D. and Robinson, A.C. 2008. Shark Bay Mouse, Pseudomys fieldi. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 627-628. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Morris, K.D. and Speldewinde, P. C. 1992. Recovery of the Shark Bay Mouse (Pseudomys fieldi), Progress Report. Report to the Djoongari Recovery Team. Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Morris, K., Speldewinde, P. and Orell, P. 2000. The recovery plan for Djoongari or the Shark Bay Mouse (Pseudomys fieldi) 1992-2001. Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No. 17. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth.

Ride, W.D.L., and Tyndale-Biscoe, C.H. 1962. Mammals. In: W.D.L. Ride, G.F. Mees, A.M. Douglas, R.D. Royce and C.H. Tyndale-Biscoe (eds), The results of an expedition to Bernier and Dorre Islands, Shark Bay, Western Australia in July, 1959, pp. 54-85. Fauna Bulletin No. 2. Fisheries Department of Western Australia.

Robinson, A.C., Robinson, J.F., Watts, C.H.S. and Baverstock, P.R. 1976. The Shark Bay Mouse Pseudomys praeconis and other mammals on Bernier Island, Western Australia. The Western Australian Naturalist 13: 149-155.

Sanders, A. and Harold, G. 1990. Search for the Shark Bay Mouse Pseudomys praeconis at Shark Bay on the Western Australian mainland. Unpublished report to World Wildlife Fund (Australia) and Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth.

Citation: Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Pseudomys fieldi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18549A22398445. . Downloaded on 25 October 2016.
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