Rory's pseudantechinus (Pseudantechinus roryi)

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderDasyuromorphia
FamilyDasyuridae
GenusPseudantechinus (1)
SizeMale snout-vent length: 8.3 - 9.0 cm (2)
Female snout-vent length: 7.7 - 9.0 cm (2)
Tail length: 6.6 - 8.8 cm (2)
Top facts

Rory’s pseudantechinus is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Named after the son of one of its describers (2) (3), Rory’s pseudantechinus (Pseudantechinus roryi) is a carnivorous marsupial (4) found in Western Australia (1) (2) (5) (6). As in other marsupials, the female has a well-defined pouch in which to carry its young. In this species, the female has a total of six teats (2).

Also known as the tan false antechinus (6) (7), Rory’s pseudantechinus has reddish-brown fur on its back. In fact, ‘Rory’ is Gaelic for ‘red’, and this particular species tends to show a brighter reddish-brown colouration than other species within its genus. Rory’s pseudantechinus has dark guard hairs, and it has whitish fur on its underparts and on the upper surface of its hands and feet. Its face and cheeks have a more grizzled appearance, and a bright orange patch can be seen behind each ear (2).

In other Pseudantechinus species, the tail is very thick at the base, as it is used for fat storage (8). Rory’s pseudantechinus has a bicoloured tail, with tan, dark-tipped hairs on the upper surface, and paler, whitish hairs underneath (2).

This species was originally thought to be the fat-tailed pseudantechinus (Pseudantechinus macdonnellensis) before being described as a species in its own right (2). Recent genetic research indicates that the current population of Rory’s pseudantechinus could contain up to three separate species, one of which is thought to reside on Barrow Island, and another in the Cape Range (1). 

Rory’s pseudantechinus is endemic to Western Australia. This species is widespread in the northern part of the Pilbara region, where it occurs north of the Hamersley Range and into the Great Sandy Desert, extending as far east as the Clutterbuck Hills (1) (2) (5) (9).

An isolated population of Rory’s pseudantechinus is known to be found on the Cape Range Peninsula, and it is thought that another such population may exist on Barrow Island (1) (2) (5), although this has not been confirmed (2).

Over the southern and western parts of its range, Rory’s pseudantechinus is sympatric with Woolley’s pseudantechinus (Pseudantechinus woolleyae), meaning that the two species have overlapping ranges in those areas (2).

Rory’s pseudantechinus is generally confined to upland rocky habitats and adjacent sandy areas covered in spinifex grass (1) (2), as well as on outcrops within certain desert areas (2). This species is also known to occur in low, open woodlands (1) (2), and within termite mounds (1).

Little information is available on the biology of Rory’s pseudantechinus. However, this marsupial is known to be carnivorous (4), whereas other members of the Pseudantechinus genus, such as the fat-tailed pseudantechinus (Pseudantechinus macdonnellensis), are insect eaters (8).

Although not much is known about breeding in Rory’s pseudantechinus, this species is thought to breed seasonally, with females producing up to six young per litter (1).

In some other Pseudantechinus species, such as the fat-tailed pseudantechinus, the breeding season is extremely short and occurs in the winter months, from around June to early September depending on the location. The gestation period of Rory’s pseudantechinus may be similar to that of the fat-tailed pseudantechinus, at between 45 and 55 days, with the young being weaned at around 14 weeks of age (8).

There are currently no known major threats to Rory’s pseudantechinus (1).

Although there are no known conservation measures specifically in place for Rory’s pseudantechinus, this species is thought to occur on Barrow Island, a nature reserve off the north-western coast of Australia. In addition, part of this species’ distribution is found in the Cape Range Peninsula region, part of which is a National Park. It has been recommended that further research into the taxonomy of this species is required (1).

Find out more about conservation in Australia:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2013)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Cooper, N.K., Aplin, K.P. and Adams, M. (2000) A new species of false antechinus (Marsupialia: Dasyuromorphia: Dasyuridae) from the Pilbara region, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 20: 115-136.
  3. Strahan, R. and Conder, P. (2007) Dictionary of Australian and New Guinean Mammals. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  4. Jones, M.E., Dickman, C.R., and Archer, M. (Eds.) (2003) Predators with Pouches: The Biology of Carnivorous Marsupials. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  5. Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. (Eds.) (2005) Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Volume 12. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  6. Wombey, J., Mason, J., Chesser, R.T. and Wells, A. (2006) CSIRO List of Australian Vertebrates: A Reference With Conservation Status. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  7. Vogelnest, L. and Woods, R. (Eds.) Medicine of Australian Mammals. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  8. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. Volume 1. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
  9. Macdonald, D. (2001) The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.