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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 41.2 years (captivity) Observations: One captive specimen at the Toronga Zoo in Sydney was still alive at 41.2 years of age (Richard Weigl 2005).
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The long-nosed echidna is reported to have sweat glands spread over its entire body surface.

Pleistocene fossils of Zaglossus have been found throughout Australia and Tasmania. No other member of the genus currently occurs outside of New Guinea. It is thought that the disappearance of long-nosed echidnas in Australia was due to climate changes that led to decreased presence of earthworms.

In the past, taxonomists recognized up to four species of Zaglossus. At present all long-nosed echidnas are considered to be one species, Z. bruijni (Augee, 1993; Walker, 1991).

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Listed in appendix II of CITES, Z. bruijni is categorized as vulnerable by IUCN. Hunting with trained dogs by the New Guinean people as well as loss of natural forest habitat due to farming are the primary causes for the species' endangerment. Data tabulated in 1982 indicated that only 1.6 Zaglossus existed per square kilometer of suitable habitat. If the data were accurate, about 300,000 long-nosed echidnas were in existence then, and the number has dropped since that time (Walker, 1991).

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: critically endangered

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Long-nosed echidnas can destroy gardens with their burrowing. In fact, this is seldom a problem. (Gregory, 1997)

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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The meat of Zaglossus is a popular food source in New Guinea (Augee, 1993; Walker, 1991).

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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The diet of Zaglossus bruijni consists almost exclusively of earthworms. When earthworms are eaten, they are positioned by the echidna to go front first into the snout. The powerful tongue of the long-nosed echidna protrudes a small distance and wraps around the front of the worm. While the worm is pulled into the mouth, the echidna's tongue holds the worm in place with its spikes. Termites and other insect larvae are also eaten, they may eat ants.

(Augee, 1993; Walker, 1991)

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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The long-nosed echidna is endemic to New Guinea (Gregory, 1997).

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Long-nosed echidnas primarily inhabitate mountain forests, although some live on highly elevated alpine meadows. The species does not live along the coastal plains (Augee, 1993; Walker, 1991).

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest ; mountains

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
31.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
30.7 years.

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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As monotremes, the long-nosed echidnas possess one body cavity for the external openings of their urinary, digestive, and reproductive organs. The species has a very short tail relative to its average body length of 450-775 mm. The core body is covered in course brown or black hair that often hides the spines covering the back. Zaglossus has a pronounced downcurved snout, which accounts for two-thirds of the length of its head. Lack of teeth in the species is compensated by rows of spikes/horny teeth-like projections on the enormous tongues of the animals. Long-nosed echidnas generally have clawed feet, the front ones important in digging for food. Within the species there is variation in the number of clawed digits on each foot. Many have claws only on the middle three of the five digits present; others have claws on each digit. The males of the species can be distinguished from the females by the presence of a spur on the inner surface of each hind leg near the foot. (Augee, 1993; Gregory, 1997; Griffiths, 1968; Walker, 1991).

Range mass: 5 to 16.5 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average basal metabolic rate: 6.493 W.

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Little is known about reproduction in Zaglossus, although they are believed to be similar in reproductive pattern to their sister species, the short-nosed echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus). Frequency of breeding, courtship rituals, and possible male parental care are unknown for both echidna species. It is thought that the breeding season for the long-nosed echidna is in July. A captive Z. bruijni specimen lived for a record 30 years and 8 months.

(Gregory, 1997; Walker, 1991).

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

Average number of offspring: 1.

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Cross, D. 2002. "Zaglossus bruijni" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zaglossus_bruijni.html
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Danielle Cross, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Western long-beaked echidna

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The western long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijnii) is one of the four extant echidnas and one of three species of Zaglossus that occur in New Guinea. Originally described as Tachyglossus bruijnii, this is the type species of Zaglossus.

Description

The western long-beaked echidna is an egg-laying mammal. Unlike the short-beaked echidna, which eats ants and termites, the long-beaked species eats earthworms. The long-beaked echidna is also larger than the short-beaked species, reaching up to 16.5 kilograms (36 lb); the snout is longer and turns downward; and the spines are almost indistinguishable from the long fur. It is distinguished from the other Zaglossus species by the number of claws on the fore and hind feet: three (rarely four). It is the largest extant monotreme.[3]

Distribution and habitat

The species is found in the Bird's Head Peninsula and Foja Mountains of West Papua and Papua provinces, Indonesia, respectively, in regions of elevation between 1,300 and 4,000 metres (4,300 and 13,100 ft); it is absent from the southern lowlands and north coast. Its preferred habitats are alpine meadow and humid montane forests.[2]

A re-examination of a specimen in the British Museum (Tring collection), noted as collected at a site in the Kimberley region of north-west Australia, was identified as this species. The skin and skull is labelled as part of the material collected by John T. Tunney on an expedition through that region in the 1930s. If accurate it is evidence of a species thought to be have been extinct for millennia in Australia; the only records up to that time of Zaglossus was of fossils dated to the Pleistocene period. The conclusion of the authors, supported by evidence from Aboriginal elders of the region and similar habitat to Papuan population, was that this species ought to be recognised in the state's fauna as persisting into the modern era and may be extant in a poorly surveyed area of the region.[4]

Conservation

The species is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN; numbers have decreased due to human activities including habitat loss and hunting. The long-beaked echidna is considered a delicacy, and although commercial hunting of the species has been banned by the Indonesian and Papua New Guinean governments, traditional hunting is permitted.[2] In January 2013, an expedition led by Conservation International reported finding a population of the mammals as part of what they described as a "lost world" of wildlife in the Foja Mountains of Papua Province, Indonesia.[5] A specimen collected in 1901 by John T. Tunney, later identified by Helgen et al. (2012), might prove that, in addition to New Guinea, the species inhabited the northern part of Western Australia (Kimberley) at least as recently as the beginning of the 20th century.[6]

References

  1. ^ Groves, C.P. (2005). "Order Monotremata". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c Leary, T.; Seri, L.; Flannery, T.; Wright, D.; Hamilton, S.; Helgen, K.; Singadan, R.; Menzies, J.; Allison, A.; James, R.; Aplin, K.; Salas, L.; Dickman, C. (2016). "Zaglossus bruijnii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T23179A21964204. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T23179A21964204.en.
  3. ^ <http://rarestzoo.blogspot.com/2006/07/long-beaked-echidna.html>
  4. ^ Helgen, Lauren; Kohen, James; Miguez, Roberto Portela; Helgen, Kristofer M. (28 December 2012). "Twentieth century occurrence of the Long-Beaked Echidna Zaglossus bruijnii in the Kimberley region of Australia". ZooKeys (255): 103–132. doi:10.3897/zookeys.255.3774. ISSN 1313-2970. PMC 3560862. PMID 23459668.
  5. ^ ‘Lost World’ of wildlife found - World environment - nbcnews.com
  6. ^ Kristofer M. Helgen; Roberto Portela Miguez; James Kohen & Lauren Helgen (2012). "Twentieth century occurrence of the Long-Beaked Echidna Zaglossus bruijnii in the Kimberley region of Australia". ZooKeys (255): 103–132. doi:10.3897/zookeys.255.3774. PMC 3560862. PMID 23459668.
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Western long-beaked echidna: Brief Summary

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The western long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijnii) is one of the four extant echidnas and one of three species of Zaglossus that occur in New Guinea. Originally described as Tachyglossus bruijnii, this is the type species of Zaglossus.

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