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Phascogale pirata

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DASYUROMORPHIA DASYURIDAE

Scientific Name: Phascogale pirata
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1904)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Brush-tailed Phascogale, Brush-tailed Phascogale
French Phascogale Pirate
Synonym(s):
Phascogale tapoatafa (Thomas, 1904)
Phascogale tapoatafa (Thomas, 1904) subspecies pirata
Taxonomic Notes: Phascogale pirata is considered a subspecies of P. tapoatafa by Groves (2005). Recent taxonomic work, however, suggests that P. tapoatafa sensu lato is composed of more than one species, including P. pirata, which is treated here as distinct (Rhind et al. 2001, Spencer et al. 2001; for comments, see Rhind et al. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Woinarski, J., Rhind, S. & Oakwood, M.
Reviewer(s): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Vulnerable because there are less than 10,000 mature individuals overall, less than 1,000 of which are in any one subpopulation, and there is likely to be continuing decline in populations due to a variety threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Northern Brush-tailed Phascogale is found in the Top End of the Northern Territory, where it has been recorded from the Melville Island, Cobourg Peninsula, West Pellew Island, Kakadu National Park, Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, and Litchfield National Park (Woinarski 2005; Rhind et al. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total global population of this species is estimated to be less than 10,000 mature individuals and it might be less than 2,500. The Northern Brush-tailed Phascogale was said to be very common historically, though currently there are only about 10 records known from the mainland in the last decade despite intensive survey work for the species (Rhind et al. 2008). There are two recent records from Melville Island (Firth et al. 2006), and two records from West Pellew Island (1988), but a recent survey of West Pellew was unable to locate it (Taylor et al. 2004).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is solitary, nocturnal, and arboreal. It nests within tree hollows during the day, and forages both on the ground and in trees mostly for invertebrates, but also some small vertebrates (Woinarski 2005). There is little information on the habitat requirements of this species. Most recent records are from tall open forest of Eucalyptus miniata-E. tetrodonta forests (Rhind et al. 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Inappropriate fire regimes which alter the understorey to increase the presence of tall grasses (especially exotic grasses) and habitat degradation associated with pastoralism are the main threats to the species (Rhind et al. 2008). The clearance of vegetation is a threat in the western portion of the mainland range and on Melville Island where exotic tree plantations are detrimental and expanding (Firth et al. 2006; Rhind et al. 2008). Introduced cane toads and cats might be threats (Rhind et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is found within three protected areas: Litchfield, Garig Gunak Barlu, and Kakadu National Parks. More surveys and monitoring are needed on the distribution, abundance, habitat requirements, and population trends of this species (Woinarski 2005). Targeted surveys for this animal, which is not readily trapped using standard methods (A. Burbidge pers. comm.).

Citation: Woinarski, J., Rhind, S. & Oakwood, M. 2008. Phascogale pirata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 December 2014.
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