Species profile

Carpentarian Pseudantechinus

Carpentarian Pseudantechinus

Range and abundance

In 2009, AWC scientists captured a Carpentarian Pseudantechinus at Pungalina-Seven Emu. It was only the 20th time the species had ever been recorded. Originally described in 1905, it was not recorded again on the mainland until 1997. It is now known only from several locations on Pungalina-Seven Emu, a small number of sites near Mt Isa and several islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Pungalina-Seven Emu is the only mainland protected area in which the species occurs.


The Carpentarian Pseudantechinus is a small (15 -25 g) marsupial 70 - 90 mm in length, with a distinctive reddish tail 60 -75 mm long. It has a long pointed noise. It is buff-brown above with paler eye-rings, large squarish ears, rufous patches behind the ears and paler fur on the underside. Its tail can become quite fat, like a carrot, during good seasons.


The Carpentarian Pseudantechinus inhabits in rocky outcrops and scree slopes supporting eucalypt woodland. It shelters in rock crevices and comes out to feed at night, moving with great agility. It probably feeds on a variety of invertebrates. Females carry their young in a pouch.


The rocky country inhabited by the Carpentarian Pseudantechinus affords it with some protection from cats and shelter from wildfire. Destruction of habitat for mining may threaten some populations. It is possible that the introduced cane toad might also pose a threat to this species, if the Carpentarian Pseudantechinus attempts to eat juvenile toads, which are toxic. 


What is AWC doing?

The Carpentarian Pseudantechinusspecies is only found on one mainland protected area - AWC's Pungalina–Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary. AWC implements fire management to reduce the occurrence of extensive hot late season fires. AWC ecologists monitor the population at a number of sites on Pungalina–Seven Emu, and seek to limit the impact of cats by managing ground cover and a stable dingo population.


Did you know:

The Carpentarian Pseudantechinus is a very poorly known species. Although it was first described in 1905, subsequent specimens were not captured until 1967 in the Sir Edward Pellew Group of islands. More recently it has been discovered in north-west Queensland, and excitingly it was discovered at AWC’s Pungalina-Seven Emu Wildlife Sanctuary in 2009, where it is now regularly captured during AWC’s annual wildlife surveys.