Tachyglossus aculeatus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Monotremata Tachyglossidae

Scientific Name: Tachyglossus aculeatus
Species Authority: (Shaw, 1792)
Common Name(s):
English Short-beaked Echidna, Kangaroo Island Echidna
French Échidnés À Nez Court Épineux

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-06-15
Assessor(s): Aplin, K., Dickman, C., Salas, L. & Helgen, K.
Reviewer(s): Johnson, C.N. & Pacifici, M.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, lack of major threats, and because it is not thought to be in decline.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in Australia, including Tasmania and a number of offshore islands, and also occurs in south-eastern New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) and the Markham valley. The subspecies Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus is endemic to Kangaroo Island, South Australia (Maxwell et al. 1996). The species has an altitudinal range of sea level to 1,675 m asl (New Guinea) and up to the highest peak in Australia.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia); Indonesia (Papua); Papua New Guinea
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It can be a locally common species.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in various open woodland types, savannah and semi-arid and arid areas, and rainforest (e.g., Queensland Wet Tropics). It is also found in agricultural areas. The female lays a single egg, which hatches after about ten days (Augee 2008).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is used for ceremonial purposes throughout its range.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There appear to be no major threats to the species over most of its range. It is threatened by overhunting for food in parts of New Guinea, and there may be some localized declines. Although not a threat, they are used for ceremonial purposes throughout their range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is found in two protected areas on New Guinea and presumably is present in many protected areas in Australia. There is a need to monitor numbers of animals killed along selected sections of main tourist roads. Most probably there are adequate protected areas in Australia already in place for this species, however, in Papua New Guinea (where less than 2% of the land is protected) none of the protected areas are large enough (other than Crater Mountain Wildlife Reserve) to contain a viable population of this species (L. Salas pers. comm.).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
3. Shrubland -> 3.7. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Augee, M. L. 2008. Short-beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 37-39. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Flannery, T.F. 1995. The Mammals of New Guinea, 2nd edition. Reed Books, Sydney, Australia.

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

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: Aplin, K., Dickman, C., Salas, L. & Helgen, K. 2016. Tachyglossus aculeatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41312A21964662. . Downloaded on 27 October 2016.
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