Djoongari facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsDjoongari
Pseudomys praeconis Thomas, 1910
The djoongari (Pseudomys fieldi), also known as the Shark Bay mouse and Alice Springs mouse, is a species of rodent in the murid family. The range of the species in Australia has become restricted to four islands in the Shark Bay area. It was once found throughout the western two thirds of Australia but it suffered greatly after the arrival of Europeans and feral animals. Its range was reduced to coastal sand dunes on Bernier Island, leaving it severely endangered. In 2003 the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) released some Shark Bay mice onto Faure Island in the hope of creating another population. Despite the presence of owls the reintroduction was successful and the population quickly grew to a larger size than that of Bernier Island, no longer leaving the species on the brink of extinction.
The population was named in a description published by Edgar Ravenswood Waite in 1896, the holotype was obtained at Alice Springs; the author allied the new species to the genus Mus. Another description was provided in 1910 by the mammalogist Oldfield Thomas, a new species named as Pseudomys (Thetomys) praeconis. Thomas described a specimen that was obtained at Shark Bay, where the collector Guy C. Shortridge found the dry skull of a female laying on the ground on Bernier Island at the Peron Peninsula; Shortridge reported that he thought the species was locally extinct. Another specimen held at the British Museum, an old female obtained by F. M. Rayner during the voyage of HMS Herald in 1858, was designated as the holotype.
The specific epithet was nominated by Waite to fulfil a request of Walter Baldwin Spencer that J. Field be acknowledged for their collection of specimens during the Horn expedition.
A large species of Pseudomys, an Australian genus of rodents, with long and shaggy fur. The coloration of the upper parts of djoongari is a pale yellowish fawn interspersed with darker brown guard hairs. The size of the head and body combined ranges from 90 to 115 millimetres (3.5 to 4.5 in), the tail is a slightly greater length of 115 to 125 millimetres (4.5 to 4.9 in). Djoongari has an average mass of 45 grams (1.6 oz), and may range from 30 to 50 grams (1.1 to 1.8 oz). The greyish ears are 19 millimetres (0.75 in) from the notch to tip. The underside of the pelage is whitish, becoming a buff colour as it grades into the upper parts, the feet are also whitish. The hind foot is 26 to 27 millimetres (1.0 to 1.1 in) long. The upper surface of the tail is greyish, and distinctly contrasts the lighter coloured lower surface. The tail ends with a tuft of dark fur. Pseudomys fieldi possess two pairs of inguinal teats.
Fossil evidence expanded the known range of Pseudomys praeconis from the Shark Bay area to areas along the western coast of Australia (Archer and Baynes 1973 and Baynes 1982 cited in Baynes 1990, p. 317), and further inland into the arid zones (Baynes 1984 cited in Baynes 1990, p. 318). It was realised, as the range was further extended by fossil remains, the remains of Pseudomys fieldi represented the easterly bound of the one species (Baynes 1990, 318).
- Tim Flannery, Country: a continent, a scientist & a kangaroo, ISBN: 1-920885-76-5
- Baynes, A 1990, 'The mammals of Shark Bay, Western Australia', in Research in Shark Bay: Report of the France-Australe bicentenary expedition committee, eds PF Berry, SD Bradshaw & BR Wilson, Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA.
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