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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 10.1 years (captivity)
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Conservation Status

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While many species of rock wallaby in Australia are threatened by continuous land development, Petrogale brachyotis' natural island populations on the northern coast of Australia help to preserve its population. Petrogale brachyotis is considered abundant, but is thought to be extinct in the extreme western portion of its range (Groves & Ride, 1984).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Benefits

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Short-eared rock wallabies were previously thought to be agricultural pests. It is currently understood that they pose no threat to human crops (Strahan, 1995).

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Benefits

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Early in Australian colonization most species of rock wallabies were hunted for their soft pelts. However, this type of exploitation has declined in recent years (Strahan, 1995).

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Trophic Strategy

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Short-eared rock wallabies mainly feed on grasses. In dry seasons they can live for long periods of time without water by feeding on the succulent bark and roots of various trees within their habitat (Nowak, 1999).

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Distribution

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This species ranges from the Kimbereley region of Western Australia, through Arnhem Land, and then eastward along the Gulf of Carpentaria to the eastern boundary of the Australian Shield, including Groote Eylandt (Nowak, 1999; Wilson & Reeder, 1993).

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Habitat

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Short-eared rock wallabies can be found in rocky areas or boulder-strewn outcrops, including low, rocky hills, cliffs, and gorges. These rocky areas are typically near forests, woodlands, or savannahs.

While other species of Petrogale have been threatened by introduced species, such as feral rabbits and feral goats, Petrogale brachyotis population sizes do not seem to have declined. This is due, in part, to the numerous island populations of northern Australia which have been unaffected by introduced species (Strahan, 1995; Taylor, 1984).

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
10.1 years.

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Morphology

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Petrogale brachyotis varies in total length from 830 to 1070 millimeters. Average adult size is 970 mm long.

Short-eared rock wallabies have ears that are not more than half the length of their heads, hence their name. The pelage is uniform in color dorsally and can have variable whitish margins. Pelage color ranges from light grey and almost white in western populations to dark grey and brown in eastern populations. They have an extremely long, bushy, and thickly-haired tail which is used primarily for balancing.

Short-eared rock wallabies have a well-padded hind foot, with the sole being roughly granulated. This characteristic gives these animals a secure grip on rocky surfaces, which is their primary habitat. The central hind claws of short-eared rock wallabies are short, exceeding the toe by only 2 or 3 mm. Female rock wallabies have a forward-opening pouch with four mammae (Nowak, 1999; Wilson & Reeder, 1993).

Range mass: 4 to 5 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Reproduction

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Little reproductive information specific to short-eared rock wallabies is available. Available reproductive information is general to all rock wallaby species.

Rock wallaby females are polyestrous, with an average estrous cycle of 30 days and a gestation period of 30 days. Rock wallabies are marsupials, they give birth to altricial young that migrate from the end of the birth canal to a pouch that houses the nipples. Young can spend anywhere from 190 to 230 days in the mother's pouch suckling. Twins are possible but single births are most common.

Female rock wallabies reach sexual maturity at approximately 540 days, while males reach sexual maturity at approximately 590 days (Strahan, 1995; Taylor, 1984).

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average number of offspring: 1.

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Null, J. 2001. "Petrogale brachyotis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_brachyotis.html
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Jesse Null, St. Lawrence University
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Erika Barthelmess, St. Lawrence University
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Short-eared rock-wallaby

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The short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale brachyotis) is a species of rock-wallaby found in northern Australia, in the northernmost parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is much larger than its three closest relatives, the eastern short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale wilkinsi), the nabarlek (Petrogale concinna) and the monjon (Petrogale burbidgei).[3]

Taxonomy

The species was described by John Gould in 1841.

In 2014 a genetic and morphological study identified a separate species, the eastern short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale wilkinsi), previously thought to be P. brachyotis. It occurs in the Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, weighs less, and has stronger markings and colouring.[4]

Prior to a revision of the genus in 2014, a number of subspecies had been recognised.[1] A tentative arrangement of two subspecies were proposed in that revision, identifying a taxon that may be a third species as the subspecies Petrogale brachyotis victoriae.[5]

Description

A species of Petrogale, known as rock-wallabies, that varies in its size and coloration and has been recognised as a species group. Referred to as the brachyotis species group of the genus, they exist in an area that has made study difficult, although examination of specimens in 2014 separated one species and identified other cryptic taxa within the population.

Prior to its revision, the generalised description for the species Petrogale brachyotis (sensu lato) incorporated variations later recognised as distinctive characters. The grey-brown coloration of the fur is interspersed with silver hair that highlights the overall coloration. the underside is pale grey. The length of the head and body combined is from 415 to 550 millimetres, and they weigh 2.2 to 5.5 kilograms. The tail is relatively short for the genus, 320 to 550 mm, a dark brown to blackish tuft of fur appears at the terminus and the colour is otherwise cinnamon brown. The ears are also relatively small, less than half the length of the head, measuring from 40 to 48 mm. The cinnamon colour also appears at the legs, broken by a buff or whitish stripe at the thigh that extends over the flank and over the shoulder, where a darker patch appears below the forelimb. A buff patch at the side of the snout has an off-white coloured stripe below that reaches to the eye. A dark stripe beginning at the crown of the head continues to the middle of the back. All the coloration is duller and the striping less distinct in populations found at the Victoria River and Kimberley region.[6]

The nominate subspecies bases its description of a specimen collected at Hanover Bay.

There is a second subspecies, described by four specimens of a population that may be elevated to species rank after examination of more material. The holotype of Petrogale brachyotis victoriae was obtained in 1974 at Lobby Creek in the "Bradshaw" region of the Northern Territory. The population is only known from collections made near the Victoria River, inspiring the authors to propose that name as the taxon's epithet.[5]

Behaviour

The short-eared rock-wallaby is a gregarious vegetarian, found in rocky hills and gorges. It is variable in its appearance but is generally grey-brown with white areas around its face and legs. It is not considered threatened.[3]

Distribution and habitat

Petrogale brachyotis has a patchy occurrence within a wide distribution range, extending west from the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory through the Top End to the Windjana Gorge in northwestern Australia. The range inland is limited to areas of rainfall above the 600 mm isohyet.[6] They are also found as island populations in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The favoured habitat is monsoonal rainforest and open grasslands, where they inhabit cliffs, hills and valleys that provide refuge and forage.[2]

In Aboriginal language and culture

Speakers of Kunwinjku in West Arnhem Land call the wallaby badbong, and people would traditionally travel with spears into the escarpment to hunt them.[7] According to Kunwinjku elder Reverend Peterson Nganjmirra they would trap badbong in rocky country by setting fire to "spinifex" (actually Triodia spp.).[8]

Conservation

The IUCN Red List notes the conservation status of the species was assessed as least concern in 2015. The trajectory of the population is not known. Local extinctions are known to have occurred in the southern range in the Northern Territory, the subpopulation in Western Australia has not been historically surveyed. Altered fire regimes may detrimentally affect local populations of the species, and the IUCN advisory group recommends study of the effect of this and other factors on this poorly monitored species.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 67. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c Woinarski, J., Telfer, W. & Burbidge, A. 2016. Petrogale brachyotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T40570A21954883. Downloaded on 03 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 126.
  4. ^ Eldridge, M.; Potter, S. (22 December 2014). "Hiding in plain sight: a new marsupial species for Australia". The Australian Museum. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b Potter, Sally; Close, Robert L.; Taggart, David A.; Cooper, Steven J. B.; Eldridge, Mark D. B. (2014). "Taxonomy of rock-wallabies, Petrogale (Marsupialia: Macropodidae). IV. Multifaceted study of the brachyotis group identifies additional taxa". Australian Journal of Zoology. 62 (#5): 401. doi:10.1071/ZO13095.
  6. ^ a b Menkhorst, P.W.; Knight, F. (2011). A field guide to the mammals of Australia (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 130. ISBN 9780195573954.
  7. ^ Garde, Murray. "badbong". Bininj Kunwok dictionary. Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  8. ^ Goodfellow, D. (1993). Fauna of Kakadu and the Top End. Wakefield Press. p. 30. ISBN 1862543062.

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Short-eared rock-wallaby: Brief Summary

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The short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale brachyotis) is a species of rock-wallaby found in northern Australia, in the northernmost parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is much larger than its three closest relatives, the eastern short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale wilkinsi), the nabarlek (Petrogale concinna) and the monjon (Petrogale burbidgei).

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