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Fawn antechinus facts for kids

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Fawn antechinus
Fawn Antechinus.JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Genus:
Antechinus
Species:
bellus
Fawn Antechinus.png
Distribution of the fawn antechinus

The fawn antechinus (Antechinus bellus) is a species of small carnivorous marsupial found in northern Australia. It is the only Antechinus to be found in the Northern Territory and has a patchy, restricted range. Kunwinjku of western Arnhem Land call this animal Mulbu, as they do many rodents. The spelling is given as Mulbbu on the Bininj Kunwok website

Taxonomy

The earliest collection of a fawn antechinus was made by John T. Tunney, and first described in 1904 by the renowned biologist Oldfield Thomas, who gave it the species name bellus, meaning beautiful. It has never been confused with other species.

It is a member of the family Dasyuridae and of the genus Antechinus (meaning "hedgehog-equivalent"), which has nine other members.

Description

The fawn antechinus is unique among antechinuses, being considerably paler than many of its relatives. It is a light grey colour and is distinguished from the only other similar species in the area where it lives (the sandstone dibbler and the red-cheeked dunnart) by its larger size and paler colouring. It is insectivorous and, like many of its relatives, all of the males die after the breeding season.

The fawn antechinus has a breeding season during August. Young are born in September–October in litters of up to ten, and are usually weaned by January.

Distribution and habitat

The fawn antechinus is found in the Top End of the Northern Territory, where it is fairly common. It inhabits tall, fairly open forest in the tropics.

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