Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Notomys fuscus (Dusky Hopping-mouse) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008de) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened mammals. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.5 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011j) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Dusky Hopping-mouse - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005hy) [Internet].
NSW:Dusky Hopping-mouse - endangered species listing - final determination (NSW Scientific Committee (NSW SC), 2003k) [Internet].
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory-Dusky Hopping-mouse Notomys fuscus (Pavey, C., 2006b) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list)
NT: Listed as Endangered (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): 2012 list)
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
SA: Listed as Vulnerable (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Vulnerable (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Notomys fuscus [125]
Family Muridae:Rodentia:Mammalia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Jones,1925)
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Notomys fuscus 

Common name: Dusky Hopping-mouse, Wilkiniti

The Dusky Hopping-mouse is an attractive rodent with long, rounded, furless ears and prominent dark eyes. It has light orange, pale brown or grey fur with grey streaks and a white belly. This mouse grows to 11.5 cm long and has a tail to 15.5 cm long that ends in a tuft of dark hairs. It has strong front teeth and extremely long and narrow hind feet that contrast with small front paws. Both the males and females possess well developed throat pouches which are characterised by fleshy margins with stiff white hairs pointing into the centre of the pouch. The average weight of the Dusky Hopping-mouse is 35 g (Crowley & Ziembicki 2009; Strahan 1998; Watts & Aslin 1981).

The Dusky Hopping-mouse has a patchy distribution in the arid areas of south-west Queensland, southern NT (historic), north-east SA and western NSW. Extensive surveys of suitable habitat (eg. in the Strzelecki dunefields) confirmed that the species is patchily distributed and highly fragmented (Moseby et al. 1999), although the factors leading to this contemporary distribution pattern are not known. There is a band of suitable habitat between Sturt Desert National Park (NP) through to Strzelecki Regional Reserve (RR) and Cobbler Dunes. The Betoota population is 300 km away from the next nearest record. The species range has contracted with no records in the NT since 1939 (Pavey 2006b) nor western SA (Moseby et al. 1999). The following table list collection sites of the species:

State Location Comments
Queensland  Pelican Waterhole near Betoota Pastoral lease (Moseby et al. 1999)
NT  Charlotte Waters Historic (Moseby et al. 1999)
Maryvale Station Historic (Pavey 2006b)
Andado Station Historic (Pavey 2006b)
SA   Strzelecki RR, including Montecollina Bore Substantial areas of suitable habitat (Moseby et al. 1999)
Innamincka RR (Moseby et al. 1999)
Cobblers Sandhills area (Moseby et al. 1999)
Bollards Lagoon Station (Moseby et al. 1999)
Ooldea Historic (Wood Jones 1925)
Boolcoomatta Reserve (Val et al. 2012)
Beverley Mine Lease (Val et al. 2012)
Rotten Swamp (Dickman 1993)
Tilcha (Dickman 1993)
NSW   Sturt NP Collected in 2003, which is the first record in NSW since 1845 (NSW SC 2003k)
Sturts Meadow Station near Broken Hill (Val et al. 2012)
Mutawintji NP Subfossil (Ellis 1993; Ellis pers. comm. cited in NSW SC 2003k)

During the 1990’s, the SA Government surveyed over 120 sites to assess the distribution of the Dusky Hopping-mouse. The survey detected the species at six sites (Moseby et al. 1999).

The Dusky Hopping-mouse exhibits irruptive demography, with abundance and distribution fluctuating greatly in response to environmental conditions. Capture rates during the extensive surveys of the 1990s suggest a total population of between 2500 and 10 000, particularly during dry periods (Lee 1995; Moseby et al. 1999). In September 2003, 12 individuals (two females and ten males) were captured in two locations in Sturt NP, north of Broken Hill (NSW SC 2003k). Collections in non sand dune habitat (i.e. chenopod shrublands on gibber plains, acacia shrubland and sandy creek lines near Broken Hill and Beverley Mine Lease) are attributed to immigration from core areas in response to significant rainfall (Val et al. 2012; Waudby & How 2008).

The Dusky Hopping-mouse is known from Strzelecki RR, Innamincka RR and Sturt NP (Moseby et al. 1999; NSW SC 2003k).

The Dusky Hopping-mouse inhabits arid areas of Australia with sand dunes or sand plains with hummocks and water nearby. The species is predominantly restricted to the dune crests with only a few observations of the species in the surrounding gibber areas (which are utilised by Fawn Hopping-mouse (N. cervinus)) or inter-dune swales and scalded areas. The Dusky Hopping-mouse does move across inter-dune clay flats within their home range (Moseby et al. 1999). Nitraria billarderei and Sandhill Cane-grass (Zygochloa paradoxa) may be important in supporting persistent populations. After seasons of good rainfall the species may occur in atypical habitat such as chenopod (e.g. Black Bluebush (Maireana pyramidata)) shrubland on gibber plains, acacia shrubland and sandy creek lines (Val et al. 2012; Waudby & How 2008).

The most northerly population near Betoota in south-west Queensland is found on a 20 x 20 km patch of red sand ridges. The vegetation is dominated by thick Sandhill Cane-grass and a sparse tall shrub layer of Dune Wattle (Acacia ligulata). The ridges are surrounded by gibber plains and low Triodia spp. covered dunes, which is habitat favoured by the related Spinifex Hopping-mouse (Notomys alexis) (Moseby et al. 1999; Watts & Aslin 1981).

In SA, the species is found in areas of continuous sand dune habitat. At Montecollina Bore, Cobbler Dunes predominate with Nitraria billardieri the dominant plant species. The area was formerly vegetated with stands of Sandhill Cane-grass but was removed by historical overgrazing.

Vegetation differs between sites but much of the variation can be attributed to disturbance by human activity, and grazing by the Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and domestic stock (Moseby et al. 1999). All known locations have supported sheep or cattle grazing in the past and all currently support populations of introduced Rabbits (although Rabbit Calicivirus has decreased these populations).

Little is known of the life expectancy and natural mortality of the Dusky Hopping-mouse. Both females and males are capable breeding at around 70 days (Aslin & Watts 1980). In captivity, females are polyoestrous with litters of 1 to 5 (mean 2.7) (Aslin & Watts 1980). Breeding is observed throughout the year, including during summer months and in wet and dry conditions (Aslin & Watts 1980; Moseby et al. 1999). Gestation periods range from 32 to 38 days (average 34.3) with an average of around 42 days between litters. Aslin and Watts (1980) observed the maximum reproductive life of females to be around 24 months and males 36 months.

The majority of Dusky Hopping-mouse burrows are located in the relatively stable Nitraria billardieri hummocks. These are interdispersed with areas of loose, unstable white sand and scalded clay areas that become inundated after heavy rains.

The Dusky Hopping-mouse undergoes significant population and occupation fluctuations, with density reductions or local extinction during dry periods. At Montecollina Bore, densities reached 6 animals per hectare during the peak trapping session of 1994 but the population became locally extinct two years later during a dry period (Moseby et al. 1999). At Pelican Waterhole, the population persists at a consistent level, possibly in response to the persistence of short-lived plant species at the site. 

The Dusky Hopping-mouse eats seed, green plants and some insects and small lizards. The species does not need to drink water (Dickman 1993).

The Dusky Hopping-mouse lives in groups of up to five in one or two burrows with a series of entrances ('pop holes') leading to chambers and tunnels up to one metre below the surface. The species is nocturnal, sheltering in deep burrows during the day (Ehmann & Watson 2011).

Dusky Hopping-mouse tracks can be distinguished from other Notomys spp. by the lack of a thumb-pad on the hindfoot (Watts & Aslin 1981) and the presence of a circular throat patch surrounded by stiff white hairs (Ehmann & Watson 2011). Ongoing monitoring using rapid assessment techniques (eg. track surveys) should be used to confirm the distribution of the species. The species overlaps with Fawn Hopping-mouse (Notomys cervinus), but the former burrows in the sand dunes while the latter burrows in clay soils (Lee 1995). When at low densities, the Dusky Hopping-mouse can be very difficult to detect using conventional trapping techniques, however, the use of track transects may assist in overcoming this problem (Moresby et al. 1999).

Recommended techniques are available in the Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened mammals (DSEWPaC 2011j).

All sites where the Dusky Hopping-mouse was recorded by Moseby and colleagues (1999) showed evidence of historical overgrazing (by Domestic stock, the Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and the House Mouse (Mus musculus)), including sheet erosion, scalding and the presence of vegetation known to flourish in overgrazed areas. Predation by the Cat (Felis catus) and the Fox (Vulpes vulpes) may also pose a significant threat (NSW SC 2003k). Extended periods of drought in grazed areas could cause significant declines in Dusky Hopping-mouse populations

Of all the sites surveyed during the 1990’s, the one at Pelican Waterhole appeared to be the least degraded despite the presence of livestock and the Rabbit. Moseby and colleagues (1999) suggest that the higher average rainfall (compared to SA sites) and the nature of the landform (the dunes are surrounded by productive floodout country that is more attractive to herbivores) has resulted in this site maintaining a more stable population of Dusky Hopping-mouse.

It has been suggested that the Dusky Hopping-mouse could benefit from (Crowley & Ziembicki 2009):

  • management of feral animals
  • limiting grazing pressure and allowing pasture spells
  • a patchy fire regime.

Management documents relevant to the Dusky Hopping-mouse are at the start of the profile.

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat loss and modification due to clearance of native vegetation and pasture improvements The Impact of Global Warming on the Distribution of Threatened Vertebrates (ANZECC 1991) (Dexter, E.M., A.D. Chapman & J.R. Busby, 1995) [Report].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate change altering atmosphere/hydrosphere temperatures, rainfall patterns and/or frequency of severe weather events Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Notomys fuscus (Dusky Hopping-mouse) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008de) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ps) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox, Fox) Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ps) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ps) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Canis lupus familiaris (Domestic Dog) The threat posed by pest animals to biodiversity in New South Wales (Coutts-Smith, A.J., P.S. Mahon, M. Letnic & P.O. Downey, 2007) [Management Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, competition and/or habitat degradation Mus musculus (House Mouse) Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ps) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Ovis aries (Sheep) Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ps) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Bos taurus (Domestic Cattle) Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ps) [Internet].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006ps) [Internet].

Aslin, H.J. & Watts, C.H.S. (1980). Breeding of a captive colony of Notomys fuscus Wood Jones (Rodentia: Muridae). Australian Wildlife Research. 7:379-383.

Crowley, G. & M. Ziembicki (2009a). Management Guidelines for Dusky Hopping-mouse Notomys fuscus. [Online]. Available from: http://www.landmanager.org.au/management-guidelines-dusky-hopping-mouse-notomys-fuscus.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) (2011j). Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened mammals. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.5. [Online]. EPBC Act policy statement: Canberra, ACT: DSEWPAC. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/threatened-mammals.html.

Dickman, C.R. (1993). The biology and management of native rodents of the arid zone in NSW. Species Management Report No. 12. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services, Hurstville, NSW.

Ehmann, H. & M. Watson (2011). Wilkinti or Dusky Hopping Mouse Notomys fuscus and Ooarri or Fawn Hopping Mouse Notomys cervinus. South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board.

Ellis, M. (1993). Extension to the known range of the Fawn Hopping-mouse Notomys cervinus in New South Wales. Australian Zoologist. 29:77-78.

Lee, A.K. (1995). The Action Plan for Australian Rodents. Canberra: Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Endangered Species Program.

Moseby, K.E., Brandle, R. & Adams, M. (1999). Distribution, habitat and conservation status of the rare dusky hopping-mouse, Notomys fuscus (Rodentia: Muridae). Wildlife Research. 26:479-494.

NSW Scientific Committee (NSW SC) (2003k). Dusky Hopping-mouse - endangered species listing - final determination. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/determinations/DuskyHoppingmouseEndSpListing.htm.

Pavey, C. (2006b). Threatened Species of the Northern Territory-Dusky Hopping-mouse Notomys fuscus. [Online]. Available from: http://lrm.nt.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species/specieslist.

Strahan, R. (Ed.) (1998). The Mammals of Australia, Second Edition, rev. Sydney, NSW: Australian Museum and Reed New Holland.

Val, J., T. Mazza & D. Shelly (2012). A new record of the dusky hopping mouse (Notomys fuscus) in New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy. 34:257-259.

Watts, C.H.S. & H.A. Aslin (1981). The Rodents of Australia. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.

Waudby, H.P. & T. How (2008). An additional record of the dusky hopping mouse Notomys fuscus in South Australia. Australian Mammalogy. 30:47-49.

Wood Jones, F. (1925). The Mammals of South Australia, part III. Page(s) 271-458. Adelaide, Government Printer.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Notomys fuscus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:45:33 +1000.