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 Approved Conservation Advice for Myrmecobius fasciatus (numbat) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014al) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the European Red Fox (Environment Australia (EA), 1999a) [Threat Abatement Plan].
Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats (Environment Australia (EA), 1999b) [Threat Abatement Plan].
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
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory - Numbat Myrmecobius fasciatus (Pavey, C., 2006k) [Information Sheet].
WA:Fauna Species Profiles - Numbat Myrmecobius fasciatus (Waterhouse, 1836) (Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC), 2010j) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Extinct (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list)
NT: Listed as Extinct (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): 2012 list)
SA: Listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list)
WA: Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Myrmecobius fasciatus [294]
Family Myrmecobiidae:Polyprotodonta:Mammalia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Waterhouse,1836
Infraspecies author  
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

The Numbat is a marsupial with reddish-brown fur and prominent white, transverse stripes. It also has a dark stripe running across the eye from the ear to the mouth. The Numbat can grow to 27.4 cm long and weigh up to 715 g. It has a bushy tail which can grow to 21 cm long (Cronin 1991; Strahan 1998).

The Numbat was originally widespread across southern semi-arid and arid Australia, from western NSW through SA and southern NT to the south-west of WA (Maxwell et al. 1996). There are currently two remnant native populations at Dryandra and Perup, WA and several reintroduced populations including Boyagin Nature Reserve, Tutanning Nature Reserve, Batalling block and Karroun Hill Nature Reserve (Friend & Thomas 1995). Genetic studies indicate that the two remnant populations are a single lineage and that the Perup population has undergone a reduction in genetic diversity as a result of population decline (Fumagalli et al. 1999).

The population at Dryandra was estimated to be about 800 in 1992 and growing despite the removal of 10-30 animals per year for reintroductions (Friend & Thomas 1995).

The remaining populations of the Numbat are in eucalypt forests and woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus marginata, Eucalyptus calophylla and Eucalyptus wandoo (Friend 1989).

Females occupy exclusive home ranges but overlap with those of males. During the non-breeding months, males also occupy exclusive home ranges but roam extensively in the months preceding and during mating (Friend 1987).

Dispersing juveniles have been tracked over distances of 15 km or more (Friend 1995).

The Numbat feeds exclusively on termites which it obtains by uncovering galleries on the forest floor. Some ants may be taken incidentally (Friend 1989, 1995).

This species nests in hollow logs or in burrows. Breeding occurs in January and up to four pouch young are carried until about six months old when the female deposits them in one of her dens. Young begin foraging at about eight months and disperse in December (Friend 1989).

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:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Myrmecobius fasciatus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006qx) [Internet].
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].
The Implications of Climate Change for Land-based Nature Conservation Strategies (Pouliquen-Young, O. & P. Newman, 1999) [Report].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox, Fox) Recovery Plan for the Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) (Friend, J.A., 1994) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Myrmecobius fasciatus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006qx) [Internet].
Recovery Plan for the Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) (Friend, J.A., 1994) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Canis lupus familiaris (Domestic Dog) Myrmecobius fasciatus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006qx) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Myrmecobius fasciatus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006qx) [Internet].

Cronin, L. (1991). Key Guide to Australian Mammals. Balgowlah, NSW: Reed Books.

Friend, J.A. (1987). Local decline, extinction and recovery: relevance to mammal populations in vegetation remnants. In: Saunders, D.A., G.W. Arnold, A.A. Burbridge & A.J.M. Hopkins, eds. Nature conservation: the role of remnants of native vegetation. Page(s) 53-64. Surrey Beatty & Sons: Chipping Norton, NSW.

Friend, J.A. (1989). Myrmecobiidae. In: Walton, D.W. & Richardson, B.J., eds. Fauna of Australia. Mammalia. IB:583-590. A.G.P.S.: Canberra.

Friend, J.A. (1995). Numbat. In: Strahan, R., ed. The Mammals of Australia. Page(s) 160-162. Reed Books: Sydney.

Friend, J.A. & Thomas, N.D. (1995). Reintroduction and the numbat recovery programme. In: Serena, M., ed. Reintroduction biology of Australian and New Zealand fauna. Page(s) 189-198. Surrey Beatty & Sons: Chipping Norton, NSW.

Fumagalli, L., C. Moritz, P. Taberlet & J.A. Friend (1999). Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation within the remnant populations of the endangered numbat (Marsupialia: Myrmecobiidae: Myrmecobius fasciatus). Molecular Ecology. 8: 1545-1549.

Maxwell, S., A.A. Burbidge & K. Morris (1996). The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. [Online]. Wildlife Australia, Environment Australia. Available from:

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

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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). Myrmecobius fasciatus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Sat, 23 Aug 2014 14:36:43 +1000.