Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in the northern coastal areas (including the Foja mountains), and the Vogelkop Peninsula of the island of New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). It is also present on the adjacent islands of Yapen, Waigeo, Misool, Salawati, and possibly Batanta (Indonesia). It probably ranges further to the south-west from the northern coastal range (this is a poorly surveyed area). It ranges in elevation from between 100 and 1,400 m asl.
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Geographic Range

The distribution of Dendrolagus inustus includes northern and western New Guinea. It ranges from the Vogelkop and Fak Fak Peninsula to the north coast of Papua New Guinea. There are also unconfirmed reports of D. inustus in Salawati, Irian Japen, and the Waigeo Islands.

Biogeographic Regions: australian

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The body of D. inustus is stern-heavy with a small head and flat muzzle. Grizzled tree kangaroos bear a close resemblance to forest and plains kangaroos and are often mistaken as terrestrial mammals. They have very long hindlegs and forelegs and long hind feet in comparison to other arboreal mammals but they are relatively short compared to kangaroos. The fourth toe is usually longer than the others. They also possess powerful arms and long curved claws to help them climb and move from tree to tree. The grizzled coloration of D. inustus distinguishes them from other tree kangaroos. The coat is slate gray to chocolate brown and of medium length. The thick fur on the shoulders grows in a reverse direction and acts as a natural water shedding device. This characteristic is shared by their tree kangaroo relatives in Australia. Grizzled tree kangaroos have distinct black ears on a gray head and have toes and a tail that is usually dark. The tail is bushy and uniform in thickness, but often hairless at the base. The tail is often used as a balancing organ, bracing the animal when climbing, although it is not prehensile. It has been recorded at an average length of 75-90 cm. The inside surface of the ears are also hairless. Grizzled tree kangaroos are sexually dimorphic, the males being much larger than the females.

Range mass: 8 to 15 kg.

Range length: 80 to 90 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

  • Walker, E. 1964. Mammals of the World Volume 1. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.
  • 1990. Tree Kangaroos. Pp. 390-392 in S Parker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. Volume 1, 1 Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species has been recorded from lowland and mid-montane tropical forests. It is found in both primary and degraded forests.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Grizzled tree kangaroos inhabit a broad spectrum of habitats. Most records are from primary forests.

Range elevation: 100 to 1400 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The main food sources in the wild for D. inustus are leaves, fruit, and soft bark. Grizzled tree kangaroos in captivity do not eat animal protein such as chicken, but they do eat mealworms and boiled eggs. In zoos, they are fed carrots, bananas, etc.

Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems; fruit

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

There is little information of how D. inustus play a roles in the ecosystem. As herbivores, they may limit plant populations.

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Predation

The predators of D. inustus are unknown.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

There is not much known about how D. inustus communicates with others or perceives the environment. Presumably, it relies on visual and tactile cues to aid its arboreal lifestyle.

Communication Channels: visual

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The lifespan of D. inustus is up to 10 years.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
10 (high) years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 23.8 years (captivity)
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Reproduction

There is not much known about the mating systems of D. inustus but their relative in Australia, Dendrolagus lumholtzi, is known to be polygynous. A male investigates a receptive female by standing in front of her, making soft clucking sounds, and pawing gently at her head and shoulders. When the female moves away, the male follows and paws at the base of her tail. Also in the other tree kangaroo species of Australia, Dendrolagus bennettianus, males are very territorial with other males but their territory often overlaps with several females, leading to the idea that they are polygynous. Captive specimens have shown that in the presence of a female, two males fight competitively, but without the female they live in peace.

It is believed that the breeding of D. inustus is non-seasonal. Also, the females give birth soon after a young leaves the pouch, and before the older young becomes independent. The number of offspring is usually one, but on extremely rare cases, twins occur. Sexual maturity is reached at 8.5 to 10.6 kg in weight for females and 12 kg for males. Males continue to grow throughout their lifetime, growing to weights of 17 kg. The females of D. bennettianus breed annually and the pouch life is around 9 months. The young is known to live with the mother up to 2 years.

Breeding season: This species breeds year-round.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Average weaning age: 8-9 months.

Range time to independence: 2 (high) years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous ; embryonic diapause

Average number of offspring: 1.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
510 days.

Not much is known about the parental investment of D. inustus. Like all kangaroos, females protect and nurse their young while they develop in the pouch. Female D. inustus will protect their offsrping for up to two years.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

  • Flannery, T. 1995. Mammals of New Guinea. Australia: Reed Books.
  • Strahan, R. 1995. The Mammals of Australia. Australia: Reed Books.
  • 1990. Tree Kangaroos. Pp. 390-392 in S Parker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. Volume 1, 1 Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A4cd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Leary, T., Seri, L., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R., Dickman, C., Aplin, K., Flannery, T., Martin, R. & Salas, L.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Vulnerable because of an ongoing population decline, suspected to be more than 30% over the last generation (i.e, 10 years), and projected exceed 30% over the next two generations (i.e., 20 years), due to hunting and habitat loss and degradation from expanding agricultural activities. This assessment assumes that the mapped distribution in the north coastal range is correct and that the species is not west of the Mamberamo. Further surveys are needed to determine the true range of this species.

History
  • 1996
    Data Deficient
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
  • 1996
    Data Deficient
  • 1994
    Vulnerable
    (Groombridge 1994)
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Grizzled tree kangaroos are commonly kept as pets. They are also hunted intensively, often killed before reaching maximum size. They are also over exploited due to growing human population.

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

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Population

Population
It is a rare species, but it might occur at higher densities in the absence of humans. The population in the northern coastal range of New Guinea is considerably more threatened than other populations.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is threatened by heavy hunting for food by local people, and by habitat loss and degradation through conversion of forest to small-scale agricultural use, and large-scale oil palm plantations.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is listed on Appendix II of CITES. This species occurs in a couple of protected areas. There is a community-based conservation project in the northern coastal range of New Guinea that is focused on protecting tree kangaroo species. Further surveys are needed to determine the true range of this species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There is little information pertaining negative effects on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

It is known that D. inustus are important as game for hunters; possibly for food but most likely for the pet trade. Grizzled tree kangaroos are also used in science for research. There is one case studied where a female grizzled tree kangaroo died from systemic arterial calcinosis, a disease resembling arteriosclerosis of the Monckeberg type in man. There is little information describing cardiovascular disorders in marsupials, therefore this case is of special interest.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; food ; research and education

  • Schoon, H., M. Rosenbrunch, G. Ruempler. 1985. Systemic arteria calcinosis in a grey tree kangaroo Dendrolagus inustus, resembling Monckeberg type arteriosclerosis in man. Journal of Comparative Pathology, 95 (3): 319-324.
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Wikipedia

Grizzled tree-kangaroo

The grizzled tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus inustus) is a species of marsupial in the Macropodidae family. It is found in foothill forest in northern and western New Guinea.[3] It is also known from the island of Yapen, while its occurrence on Salawati and Waigeo is uncertain.[4]

References

  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 60. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ Leary, T., Seri, L., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R., Dickman, C., Aplin, K., Flannery, T., Martin, R. & Salas, L. (2008). Dendrolagus inustus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as vulnerable
  3. ^ Flannery, T. 1995. Mammals of New Guinea. Reed Books. ISBN 0-7301-0411-7
  4. ^ Flannery, T. 1995. Mammals of the south-west Pacific & Moluccan Islands. Reed Books. ISBN 0-7301-0417-6
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