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Distribution and status of the red-tailed phascogale (Phascogale calura)

Short, J. and Hide, A. (2012) Distribution and status of the red-tailed phascogale (Phascogale calura). Australian Mammalogy, 34 (1). pp. 88-99.

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The red-tailed phascogale once extended widely across semiarid and arid Australia, but is now entirely confined to the southern wheatbelt of Western Australia, occupying less than 1% of its former range. Here it occurs in a portion of the Avon Wheatbelt, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, and Esperance Plains biogeographical regions. The species persists only in areas that have been extensively cleared for agriculture and where the remaining bushland is highly fragmented. It does not appear to extend into unfragmented habitat in either the Jarrah Forest to the west or Mallee region to the east. It occurs primarily in woodland habitat with old-growth hollow-producing eucalypts, primarily wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) or York Gum (E. loxophleba), but records from the periphery of its current range appear to come from a broader range of habitats, including shrublands and various mosaics of woodland, shrubland, and scrub-heath. Key factors limiting persistence are likely to be fragmentation of habitat that is likely to greatly increase the risks associated with dispersal, a shortage of suitable nesting hollows in many vegetation associations, and predation by feral and domestic cats and by foxes. These factors, particularly fragmentation and lack of suitable nesting hollows, suggest that the species' long-term persistence in areas beyond the wandoo belt is far from assured.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Australian Mammal Society Inc.
Copyright: © 2012 Australian Mammal Society
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