Cercartetus caudatus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Cercartetus caudatus
Species Authority: (Milne-Edwards, 1877)
Common Name(s):
English Long-tailed Pygmy Possum, Long-tailed Pygmy-possum
Taxonomic Notes: The New Guinean (Cercartetus caudatus caudatus) and Australian (C. c. macrurus) populations probably represent separate species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Aplin, K., Dickman, C., Salas, L., Burnett, S. & Winter, J.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large and stable population, presence in protected areas, and because there are no major threats to the species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is present in the highlands of the island of New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), and in the lowland and upland rainforests between Paluma Range and Cooktown, Queensland, Australia (Flannery 1995; Maxwell et al. 1996). It ranges from medium elevations to 3,450 m asl (New Guinea) and from sea level to 1,600 m in Australia.
Australia; Indonesia; Papua New Guinea
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is generally a common species within suitable habitat in New Guinea, although it appears to be uncommon in the Australian part of the range.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a nocturnal and mostly arboreal species (though with some terrestrial activity). In New Guinea, the species is found in montane and mid-montane primary and secondary tropical moist forests, especially where there are tree ferns. It also occurs in areas of subalpine shrubland. In Australia, it is known from rainforest (Maxwell et al. 1996). The species breeds twice a year in Australia, with the female typically giving birth to between one and four young (Haffenden and Atherton 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There appear to be no major threats to this species in Australia or New Guinea. Cats could be a threat to the species in some parts of the range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is present in several protected areas. Within Australia, there is a need to monitor the distribution and abundance of the species, and to undertake studies of ecology and habitat requirements (Maxwell et al. 1996). Further taxonomic studies of this species are needed, particularly to elucidate the taxonomic status of the New Guinea forms.

Bibliography [top]

Dwyer, P. D. 1977. Notes on Antechinus and Cercartetus (Marsupialia) in the New Guinea Highlands. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 88: 69-73.

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

Haffenden, A. T. and Atherton, R. G. 2008. Long-tailed Pygmy-possum, Cercartetus caudatus. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 213-214. Reed New Holland, 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.

Menzies, J. I. 1991. Handbook of New Guinea Marsupials and Monotremes. Kristen Press, Inc., Madang.

Citation: Aplin, K., Dickman, C., Salas, L., Burnett, S. & Winter, J. 2008. Cercartetus caudatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 30 March 2015.
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