New records of the Julia Creek Dunnart Sminthopsis douglasi in central-north Queensland

Kutt, A.S. (2003) New records of the Julia Creek Dunnart Sminthopsis douglasi in central-north Queensland. Australian Zoologist, 32 (2). pp. 257-260.

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The Julia Creek Dunnart Sminthopsis douglasi has had a reputation as one of the more cryptic and restricted of Australia's dasyurid marsupials, despite being also the largest member of its genus (Woolley 1995). Only four museum specimens existed prior to 1992, all derived from a small area of "Downs Country" between Richmond and Julia Creek (Woolley 1995). Woolley (1992) reported further S. douglasi localities and these extended the range beyond the previously identified maximum geographic distribution. She concluded that the range of the species was certainly much larger than identified, and that the small number of known specimens was a result of low sampling effort rather than a pattern of natural restriction. Sminthopsis douglasi is considered to be obligate in habitat to treeless or lightly timbered tussock grasslands on cracking clay soils associated with the Mitchell Grass Downs and parts of the Gulf Plains Bioregions in northern and western Queensland. Given that this vegetation within Queensland covers over 20 million hectares (Sattler and Williams 1999). one might safely expect a species with such a strong environmental association to be more widespread within regions of potential habitat, even if there was some degree of climatic restriction. Apart from habitat preference, the extant distribution and abundance of this species is thought to be primarily influenced by predation by feral cats and foxes, loss of adequate grass cover and disturbance to soil structure by hoofed stock (Maxwell et al. 1996). This note reports new locality data for S. douglas; collected during a large-scale inventory vertebrate fauna survey in the Desert Uplands Bioregion. Habitat data, distribution and possible implications for conservation status are discussed.

Item ID: 5992
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0067-2238
Keywords: Julia Creek Dunnart; Sminthopsis douglasi
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Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2010 23:55
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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