Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is present on the island of Tasmania and the larger islands of the Bass Strait, Australia. It was formerly present in south-eastern South Australia and Victoria (Johnson and Rose 2008), but became extinct in this region in the 1920's. It occurs up to around 1,400 m asl in Tasmania.
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Geographic Range

Red-bellied Pademelons, Thylogale billardierii, are native to Australia and Tasmania, but now are only found on Tasmania. Red-bellied Pademelons were once widespread and abundant on the mainland of Australia, but they have been extinct on the mainland since the early 1900s. Red-bellied Pademelons are still abundant on Tasmania and the larger islands of Bass Strait.

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

  • Johnson, K., R. Rose. 1995. Pademelons, Thylogale. Pp. 394-396 in R Strahan, ed. Mammals of Australia. Reed Books.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Thylogale billardierii are short stocky marsupials. Adult males weigh about 7 kg, females only about 4 kg. Pademelons have a short tail and compact body that are useful for maneuvering through dense vegetation. Thylogale billardierii have soft fine fur that is dark brown to grey brown on the dorsal side (back) of the animal, and reddish brown or lighter brown on the ventral side (stomach). The males of Thylogale billardierii have a broad chest and forearms, which are factors that contribute to males being larger than females.(Parks and Wildlife Services of Tasmania)

Range mass: 2.5 to 12 kg.

Range length: 1 to 1.5 m.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in areas of dense vegetation within wet sclerophyll forest, temperate moist forest, scrubland and open grassy areas containing refuges of dense vegetation (Johnson and Rose 2008). It may form loose groups of up to ten animals when feeding (Johnson and Rose 2008). Breeding is continuous throughout the year (Johnson and Rose 2008). It is tolerant of some degree of habitat disturbance.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Thylogale billardierii inhabit areas of dense vegetation, rainforest and wet forest. Thylogale billardierii will also inhabit wet gullies in dry open eucalyptus field. However, when in a clear area, they usually stay within 100 meters of forest shelter. (PBS)

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Thylogale billardierii mainly eat short green grasses and herbs, and they occasionally eat taller woody plants. Thylogale billardierii are nocturnal and feed at night close to the protection of the forest. (PBS)

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )

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Associations

Predation

Known Predators:

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The lifespan of Thylogale billardierri is around 5-6 years in the wild. There is unsufficient data for the lifespan in captivity. (PBS)

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
5 to 6 years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
5-6 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
8.8 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 8.8 years (captivity) Observations: These animals have been estimated to live up to 10 years (Fisher et al. 2001), which has not been confirmed. One captive specimen lived 8.8 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Thylogale billaridierii are polygynandrous. Occasional clicking can be heard in males chasing after females in oestrus. Immediately after birth, the female again comes into oestrus, but the blastocyst remains in embryonic diapause.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Like other macropodids, baby Thylogale billardierii nurse in the mothers pouch after a short gestation period. In Thylogale billardierii, pouch life is six and a half months, and the young are weaned from the mothers teat around seven or eight months. Thylogale billardierii are usually sexually mature around fourteen or fifteen months. Thylogale billardierri are solitary animals that come together for mating, and will occasionally share a feeding ground.

Thylogale billardierii reproduce in captivity year round, but in the wild 70% of births are in late autumn. The gestation period is 30 days. The young makes its way into the pouch immediately after birth, and attaches itself to one of four teats. If there are other siblings, the newly born joey will choose a teat not used by a sibling.

Immediately after birth, the mother again comes into oestrus and mates. The resulting embryo develops into the blastocyst stage, and then remains in embryonic diapause. If the current joey is lost or removed, the blastocyst is developed and born 27-28 days later. If the current joey develops naturally, it will be replaced on the night he leaves the pouch by a new young resulting from the activated blastocyst(Rose et al. 1999).

Breeding season: autumn

Average number of offspring: 1.

Average gestation period: 30 days.

Range weaning age: 6 to 12 months.

Average weaning age: 8 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 14 to 15 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 14 to 15 months.

Key Reproductive Features: year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous ; delayed implantation

Average birth mass: 0.42 g.

Average gestation period: 29 days.

Average number of offspring: 1.

The young of Thylogale billardierii are exclusively cared for by the mother, until they are weaned at around 7 months. (Rose et al 1999)

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Menkhorst, P. & Denny, M.

Reviewer/s
Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, tolerance to some degree of habitat modification, and because its overall population appears to be stable.
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Even though Thylogale billardierii is currently very abundant and widespread in Tasmania. The species is harvested each year to ensure that the numbers remain controlled and abundant.(PBS)

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
It is an abundant species in Tasmania (Johnson and Rose 2008).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There appear to be no major threats to this species. In parts of its Tasmanian range it is considered to be a pest species of agricultural crops (Johnson and Rose 2008). The mainland populations were driven to extinction mainly by introduced foxes. In Tasmania the recent introduction of foxes could become a major threat if they are not controlled.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is present in many protected areas in Tasmania. Fox control programs should be implemented in Tasmania.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Thylogale billardierii avidly eat brush and foilage, sometimes competing with the livestock of Tasmanian farmers. This has been controlled recently by the installation of electric fences. (Statham 1994)

Negative Impacts: crop pest

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Thylogale billardierii has a soft, fine fur that is valuable to humans. The meat of Thylogale billardierii has little fat, and is palatable to humans. Thylogale billardierii only inhabit Tasmania, this fact has added increased interest in tourism. (Stranham)

Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism

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Wikipedia

Tasmanian pademelon

The Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii), also known as the rufous-bellied pademelon or red-bellied pademelon, is the sole endemic species of pademelon, marsupials found in Tasmania, and formerly throughout south-eastern Australia. This pademelon has developed heavier and bushier fur than its northern relatives, who inhabit northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Males reach around 12 kg (26.5 lbs) in weight, 1–1.2 metres in height, and are considerably larger than the females, which average 3.9 kg (8.6 lbs).

Habitat[edit]

Female and her joey.

Pademelons are solitary and nocturnal, spending the daylight hours in thick vegetation. Rainforest, sclerophyll forest, and scrubland[3] are preferred, although wet gullies in dry open eucalyptus forest are also used. Such places, next to open areas where feeding can occur, are especially favoured. After dusk, the animals move onto open areas to feed, but rarely stray more than 100 metres from the forest edge.

The species is abundant and widespread throughout Tasmania.

Diet[edit]

The Tasmanian pademelon is a nocturnal herbivore feeding on a wide variety of plants, from herbs, green shoots and grass, to some nectar-bearing flowers.[3]

Once a part of the diet of the Thylacine, the Tasmanian pademelon is still preyed upon by other predators of the island, including the Tasmanian devil and quolls. Even so, they are abundant to the point of being culled occasionally (along with other wallabies) to reduce competition for grass with the farmed animals. Hunting of the Tasmanian pademelon is allowed, its pelt having some economic value and its meat being palatable.

Breeding[edit]

There is no specific breeding season, though 70% of pademelon births seem to occur around the beginning of winter. Gestation for the female is 30 days. The young are in the pouch for about 6 months thereafter, and are weaned at around 8 months. Joeys are sexually mature at 14–15 months. Pademelons live between 5 to 6 years in the wild.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). "Order Diprotodontia". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Menkhorst, P. & Denny, M. (2008). Thylogale billardierii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 29 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  3. ^ a b Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-19-550870-3. 
  4. ^ AustralianFauna.com article on the Tasmanian pademelon
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