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Nail-tail wallaby facts for kids

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Nail-tail wallabies
Onychogalea lunata.jpg
Crescent nail-tail wallaby
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Macropodidae
Subfamily: Macropodinae
Genus: Onychogalea
Gray, 1841
Type species
Macropus unguifer
Gould, 1841
Species
  • Onychogalea fraenata
  • Onychogalea lunata
  • Onychogalea unguifera

Nail-tail wallaby refers to Onychogalea, a genus describing three species of macropods, all of which are found in Australia. Related to kangaroos and wallabies, they are smaller sized species distinguished by a horny spur at the end of their tail. The northern nail-tail wallaby is still common in the northern part of Australia, the crescent nail-tail is now extinct, and the bridled nail-tail is considered rare and endangered, with probably fewer than 1100 mature individuals in the wild. Nail-tail wallabies are smaller than many other wallabies.

Taxonomy

There are three recognised species of the genus Onychogalea, the nail-tailed wallabies, they are:

  • Onychogalea fraenata, the bridled nailtail, whose range and population has greatly declined since colonisation;
  • Onychogalea lunata, the crescent nailtail, warong, once abundant and widespread across the southwest and centre, the smallest species entered a rapid decline and became extinct;
  • Onychogalea unguifera the northern species, still extant in the Kimberley and Top End regions.

Description

A genus of Macropodidae, small and herbivorous species with a shy disposition. The earliest descriptions noted their elegant shape, graceful movements and beautiful markings. Named for one of their general characteristics, the nail-tailed wallaby has a horny point two or three millimetres wide at the tip of the tail, an almost unknown characteristic for a mammal that has been compared to the bony spur of a lion's tail.

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