Wyulda squamicaudata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Wyulda squamicaudata
Species Authority: Alexander, 1919
Common Name(s):
English Scaly-tailed Possum, Yilangal, Ilangurra
French Possum À Queue Écailleuse

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): McKnight, M.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Data Deficient in view of the absence of recent information on its threats and conservation status. There is concern that its habitat quality is declining and the degree to which introduced cats pose a threat is unknown.
1996 Lower Risk/near threatened (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Apart from the type specimen, which came from Violet Valley in the east Kimberley, all records are from the high rainfall, near-coastal north-west Kimberley of Western Australia (Burbidge and Webb 2008). It has not been recorded in east Kimberley since 1917 and is thought to be extinct from here. It is also found on Bigge and Boongaree Islands (A. Burbidge pers. comm.).
Australia (Western Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There have not been many surveys within its range, and there are only isolated records. The species is sparsely and patchily distributed (Runcie 1999). Runcie (1999) found a density of 2.3-4.6 possums per hectare, which is nearly five times higher than that estimated by Humphreys et al. (1984). However, the study by Runcie (1999) was limited to one small area, and the results may not apply elsewhere (A. Burbidge pers. comm.).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in low open woodland, using four different types of rock formations for dens during the day (it is highly dependent on these rock formations): rockpiles, sunken rockpiles, large rock slabs, and underground rock crevices (Runcie 1999). At night, it feeds on four species of trees (Xanthostemon eucalyptoides, X. paradoxus, Eucalyptus sp., and Planchonia careya) (Runcie 1999). One young is born between March and August (Runcie 1999).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no data on threats, but this species is probably adversely affected by changed fire regimes and predation by introduced cats. On the Mitchell Plateau, proposed mining activity could affect this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is occurs in Prince Regent Nature Reserve. Recommended actions (Maxwell et al. 1996) for this species include: monitor abundance at selected sites throughout range, including the islands; conduct research aimed at understanding the biology, ecology, conservation status, and requirements. There needs to be research on fire ecology.

Bibliography [top]

Burbidge, A. A. and Webb, M. J. 2008. Scaly-tailed Possum, Wyulda squamicaudata. In: Van Dyck, S. and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 277-278. Reed New Holland, Sydney.

Humphreys, W. F., How, R. A., Bradley, A. J., Kemper, C. M. and Kitchener, D. J. 1984. The biology of Wyulda squamicaudata Alexander 1919. In: A. Smith and I. Hume (eds), Possums and Gliders, pp. 162-169. Surrey Beatty and Sons and Australian Mammal Society, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

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.

Runcie, M. J. 1999. Movements, dens and feeding behaviour of the tropical scaly-tailed possum (Wyulda squamicaudata). Wildlife Research 26: 367-373.

Citation: McKnight, M. 2008. Wyulda squamicaudata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 31 March 2015.
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