The agile wallaby's range includes the coastal and tropical areas of Australia (Environment Australia, 2001), including northeast Western Australia, the northern portion of the Northern Territory, and the north and east areas of Queensland (Nowak, 1991). Also, there are limited populations in southern New Guinea (Columbus Zoo web site, 2001).
Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )
Agile wallabies are yellowish-brown and have a white cheek stripe. Also, there is usually a fairly distinct white stripe near the hip. Average head and body length ranges between 600 and 1,050 mm; average mass for males is 20 kg. and 12 kg for females. (Nowak, 1991)
Average mass: 16 kg.
Range length: 600 to 1050 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Average mass: 16000 g.
Habitat and Ecology
Agile wallablies occur in a wide variety of habitats often depending on local environmental conditions. These habitats include open forests and their adjacent grasslands, regions near rivers and streams, and also floodplains (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, 2001).
Habitat Regions: tropical
Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest
Agile wallabies are extremely flexible and opportunistic feeders. Their eating habits change depending on environmental conditions. During wet season, the wallabies eat a variety of native grasses, shrubs and bushes. Also, they may feed on some varieties of leaves and fruits (Stirrat, 2001). These wallabies have adapted well to extended periods of time without water. During these dry times, their feeding range usually extends and includes digging into soil for moisture-rich roots (Nowak, 1991).
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore , Granivore )
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
Life History and Behavior
Directly after birth, the young wallaby travels to the mother's pouch. The "joey" stays within the pouch for an average of seven to eight months (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, 2001). The joey does not usually emerge permanently and reach total independance for several more weeks. Weaning occurs until the young wallaby is one year old. (Nowak, 1991)
Expected lifespan in wild ranges between 11-14 years (Nowak, 1991).
Status: wild: 11 to 14 years.
Status: wild: 11-14 years.
Status: captivity: 10.2 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Births may occur at any time of the year, but usually peak between May and August. A single young is born per breeding season. (ThinkQuest Library, 2001) The adult sex ratio of populations is often female biased, due to higher male youth mortality rates (Stirrat, 2000).
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 30 days.
Average weaning age: 10-12 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 12 to 14 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 12 to 14 months.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); delayed implantation
Average birth mass: 0.634 g.
Average gestation period: 29 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern
In many areas, agile wallabies occur in large numbers and may even reach pest-like population levels. However, human habitat modification, extended periods of drought and over-hunting can combine for dramatic local population drops (Nowak, 1991).
US Migratory Bird Act: no special status
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
In some regions, agile wallabies occur in numbers large enough to negatively influence both natural and agricultural areas. Their extended feeding groups can create large amounts of soil erosion in wild areas, and they are often considered by farmers as pests due to their crop destruction (Environment Australia, 2001).
Negative Impacts: crop pest
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
In modern times, this species does not have any significant positive economic benefits. Previously, their meat was sometimes consumed and their fur was collected (Environment Australia, 2001).
The agile wallaby, as its alternative name implies, is a sandy colour becoming paler below. It is a sociable animal and grazes on grasses and other plants.
There are four subspecies of the agile wallaby:
- M. a. agilis - the nominate subspecies is found in Northern Territory;
- M. a. jardinii - this subspecies is found on the northern and eastern coasts of Queensland;
- M. a. nigrescens - found in the Kimberley and Arnhem Land regions of Western Australia;
- M. a. papuanus - found in southern and southeastern Papua New Guinea and some neighbouring islands.
The agile wallaby is not considered threatened.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 63. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.
- Aplin, K., Dickman, C., Salas, L., Woinarski, J. & Winter, J. (2008). Macropus agilis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
- Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 110.
- Merchant, J.C. (1983). Agile Wallaby in The Complete Book of Australian Mammals (ed. Ronald Strahan). Angus & Robertson. p. 242.