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|
|Recovery Plan Decision||
Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
|Adopted/Made Recovery Plans||
Recovery plan for the Golden Bandicoot Isoodon auratus and Golden-backed Tree-rat Mesembriomys macrurus 2004 - 2009 (Palmer, C., R. Taylor & A. Burbidge, 2003) [Recovery Plan].
|Other EPBC Act Plans||
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
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].
Documents and Websites
|State Listing Status||
|Non-statutory Listing Status||
|Scientific name||Isoodon auratus auratus |
|Species author||(Ramsay, 1887)|
|Reference||Pope, L., Storch, D., Adams, M., Moritz, C.and Gordon, G. (2001).Australian Journal of Zoology 49: 411-434; Zenger, K.R., Eldridge M.D.B and Johnston, P.G. (2005). Conservation Genetics 6:193-204|
This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.
Northern Territory: At the species level, listed as Endangered under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Act 2000.
South Australia: At the species level, listed as Endangered under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.
Scientific Name: Isoodon auratus auratus
Common Name: Golden Bandicoot (mainland)
Isoodonis currently divided into many species and subspecies though the validity of this taxonomic approach is debated (Pope et al. 2001). Argument regarding the definition of subspecies focuses on whether isolated populations are genetically different subspecies or whether populations have developed morphological traits in response to environmental constraints at respective locations (Pope et al. 2001).
Current accepted taxonomy
Most recent authorities consider there to be three species of Isoodon: the Southern Brown Bandicoot (I. obesulus) from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and NSW; the Golden Bandicoot (I. auratus) from the Northern Territory and Western Australia; and the Northern Brown Bandicoot (I. macrourus) which occurs in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland (Van Dyck & Strahan 2008). Originally, the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) was considered a subspecies of the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Tate 1948) based on a specimen from Derby, Western Australia. However, this species has been treated as a separate species by recent authorities (Van Dyck & Strahan 2008).
The two subspecies of Golden Bandicoot are considered separate on morphological grounds with Golden Bandicoot (Barrow Island) (Isoodon auratus barrowensis) distinguished from other forms by its wide zygomatic arches (the oblique suture between the squamous portion of the temporal bone and the zygomatic bone) (Lyne & Mort 1981). Marchinbar Island specimens of Golden Bandicoot (mainland) differ from Golden Bandicoot (Barrow Island) specimens by only one polymorphic locus out of 24 (Southgate et al. 1996). This genetic variation is smaller than the difference between subspecies of Southern Brown Bandicoot (Close et al. 1990).
The relationship between the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) and I. auratus arnhemensis, a subspecies not commonly accepted, are unknown and intensive surveys in eastern Arnhem Land have not revealed any species other than the Northern Brown Bandicoot in the Arnhem Land area (Johnson & Southgate 1990; Southgate et al. 1996). Several authors have speculated on the possible synonymy of I. obesulus peninsulaewith Golden Bandicoot, but genetic data does not currently support this (Close et al. 1990).
Mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests only two distinct lineages of Isoodon: the Northern Brown Bandicoot and the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Lyne & Mort 1981; McKenzie 1983; Pope et al. 2001; Zenger et al. 2005). This analysis places both subspecies of the Golden Bandicoot as forms of the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Pope et al. 2001). Pope and colleagues (2001) found that:
- the genetic difference between the Golden Bandicoot and the Southern Brown Bandicoot is similar to the genetic difference between subspecies of Southern Brown Bandicoot, and
- the genetic difference between geographically close populations of Southern Brown Bandicoot from Western Australia and the Golden Bandicoot (Barrow Island) is smaller than the genetic difference between subspecies of Golden Bandicoot (Pope et al. 2001).
The Golden Bandicoot (mainland) is a small golden-brown marsupial with a rather long, pointed head and compact body. It has stiff golden hairs which lie over the head and body, completely hiding the softer, greyish underfur. This species grows to an average length of 24.5 cm with an average tail length of 10.5 cm. The Golden Bandicoot (mainland) weighs between 300 and 670 g when mature (Van Dyck & Strahan 2008), though two adults were measured at 850 g each (Palmer et al. 2003).
Populations on Marchinbar Island are sexually dimorphic and larger than those on Barrow Island, but smaller than those in the Kimberley (Palmer et al. 2003). Marchinbar Island populations appear to breed all year round, whereas Barrow Island populations have a strong summer peak. In the Kimberley, Golden Bandicoots (mainland) have been recorded with two pouch young in May and September (Palmer et al. 2003).
The present distribution of the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) is disjunct with populations on Marchinbar Island, Northern Territory (Southgate et al. 1996; Woinarski et al. 1999), and Uwins Island, Augustus Island and the nearby Kimberley mainland at Yampi Peninsula, George Water and Prince Regent Nature Reserve, Western Australia (Maxwell et al. 1996; McKenzie et al. 1975, 1978).
The approximate area of occupancy of the Golden Bandicoot, at the species level, based on post-1990 records, is 65 000 km² (Palmer et al. 2003).
Population figures for the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) are estimated at 1400 for the subpopulation on Marchinbar Island in the Northern Territory and an unknown quantity for populations occurring on the mainland or islands in the Kimberley. There is no regular monitoring or conservation management of Golden Bandicoot (mainland) populations. The following table presents Golden Bandicoot (mainland) population information (Palmer et al. 2003):
|Location of current known populations||Most recent record||State||Tenure||Estimated population and data type||Habitat|
|Bachsten Creek (mainland)||2002||WA||Unallocated Crown Land||unknown||King Leopold Sandstone heathland on dissected sandstone|
|Augustus Island (Kimberley)||2003||WA||Aboriginal Lands Trust||unknown||Warton Sandstone -heathland on dissected sandstone|
|Marchinbar Island||1994||NT||Aboriginal Freehold||1400||Heathland on dissected sandstone|
|Yampi Sound Training Area (mainland)||2002||WA||Defence||unknown||King Leopold Sandstone heathland on dissected sandstone|
|Prince Regent Nature Reserve (mainland)||2003||WA||Class A Nature Reserve||unknown||King Leopold Sandstone heathland on dissected sandstone, vine thicket|
|Mitchell Plateau (mainland)||2003||WA||Aboriginal Reserve National Park||unknown||King Leopold Sandstone heathland on dissected sandstone, vine thicket|
Until the 1930s this species was widespread throughout a large range of habitats across Western Australia, South Australia, NSW, Northern Territory and possibly Queensland (Ellis et al. 1991; Friend 1990). The reasons for the rapid decline are unknown but may be linked to increased densities of carnivorous feral animals such as Black Rats (Rattus rattus), cats (Felis catus), dogs (Canine familiaris) and Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) (Van Dyck & Strahan 2008). The most recent record for central Australia, from The Granites (north Tanami Desert), in the Northern Territory, occurred in 1952. Suitable habitat exists on a number of other islands where the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) has not been recorded (Palmer et al. 2003).
Recently, the Northern Brown Bandicoot has been reported to be prone to sudden declines in abundance, possibly linked to occurrence of intense fire (Pardon et al. 2003). The subspecies Golden Bandicoot (Barrow Island) is estimated to occur in the tens of thousands (up to 80 000) on Barrow Island with approximately 1000 individuals occurring on Middle Island (Palmer et al. 2003).
Populations are located on Department of Defence land (Yampi Sound Training Area), Aboriginal land (Augustus Island, Marchinbar Island), conservation land (Prince Regent Nature Reseerve) and Unallocated Crown Land (Bachsten Creek), however, there is very little specific on-ground conservation management of the species (Palmer et al. 2003).
Habitat of extant Golden Bandicoot (mainland) populations includes rainforest margins and viney thickets on rugged sandstone (the north Kimberley area), eucalypt woodland (Yampi Peninsula) and rugged sandstone with eucalypt woodland over hummock grassland (Augustus Island) (Friend et al. 1991; Maxwell et al. 1996; McKenzie et al. 1978). On Marchinbar Island, the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) is found in heath and open woodland vegetation types but not in sand dunes, coastal thickets or rainforest (Southgate et al. 1996). Kimberley populations occur in a high rainfall (7001200 mm) area.
Little historical information is available, but the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) presumably occurred across much of arid and semi-arid Australia in a range of ecosystems and habitats (Maxwell et al. 1996; Palmer et al. 2003). Other known, or previously known, habitat of Golden Bandicoot (mainland) includes (Palmer et al. 2003):
- hummock and tussock grassland on sand-dunes and sand-plains in the arid zone
- Acacia and Eucalyptus woodland in the tropical semi-arid zone
- vine thickets
- heath and woodland in rugged sandstone
- volcanic country in the subhumid tropics.
The Golden Bandicoot (mainland) occurs in association with other species listed under the EPBC Act including; the endangered Northern Quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus); the vulnerable Partridge Pigeon (western) (Geophaps smithii blaauwi); Golden-backed Tree-rat (Mesembriomys macrurus); and Black-flanked Rock-wallaby (Petrogale lateralis lateralis). Other declining fauna in northern Australia that may occur in similar habitat to Golden Bandicoot (mainland) include Scaly-tailed Possum (Wyulda squamicaudata), Rock-ringtail Possum (Petropseudes dahli ), Black Grasswren (Amytornis housei) and Spectacled Hare-wallaby (Lagorchestes conspicillatus). Threat abatement targeting the recovery of the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) may indirectly benefit the recovery of these species and other northern Australia fauna (Palmer et al. 2003).
Microhabitat details are unknown but, on Marchinbar Island, nests are located under vegetated areas and rocky areas. Breeding on Marchinbar Island appears to be continuous as pouch young and juveniles are found in all seasons. In one study, five litters were found, three litters had three pouch young and the other litters had two (Southgate et al. 1996).
Based on scat analysis of Golden Bandicoot (mainland) populations on Marchinbar Island, the diet of this subspecies consists of arthropods (beetles, termites, ants, larvae, spiders and centipedes) (Southgate et al. 1996). Western Australian mainland populations have been recorded eating insects, arachnids and plant material (McKenzie et al. 1995 cited in Palmer et al. 2003). Golden Bandicoot (Barrow Island) populations have been recorded eating eggs and reptiles (McKenzie et al. 1995 cited in Palmer et al. 2003).
The Golden Bandicoot (mainland) appears to be a solitary, discrete and restricted species, although home ranges have some overlap (Southgate et al. 1996). On Marchinbar Island, home ranges vary from 4.4 ha to 35 ha for males and 1.7 ha to 12.7 ha for females (Palmer et al. 2003). Home ranges tended to be larger in the dry season, but only slightly (Palmer et al. 2003). Home ranges tend to centre on nest sites (Graham 1996 cited in Palmer et al. 2003).
The Golden Bandicoot (mainland) is superficially similar to the more common Northern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus) though the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) is smaller and has a flatter and elongated head. The species are unequivocally distinguished from differences in the morphology of their hair. Both species may have been marginally sympatric (Parker 1973) and both have recently been recorded co-occurring in some areas (Palmer et al. 2003)
No factor has yet been identified as causing the decline of the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) or, more generally, the other critical weight range (CWR) mammals in the Kimberley and the Top End of the Northern Territory (Palmer et al. 2003). The most likely threats are predation by feral cats and changed fire regimes. Fire regimes may be linked to predation occurring after the undergrowth is destroyed by intense fire. Recently, the Northern Brown Bandicoot has been reported to be prone to sudden declines in abundance, possibly linked to the occurrence of intense fire (Pardon et al. 2003). The decline of the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) is indicative of processes affecting critical weight range mammals (such as Golden-backed Tree-rat, Mesembriomys macrurus) within the tropical savannas of northern Australia (Palmer et al. 2003).
Feral dogs and the inadvertent introduction of feral cats are considered to be a major threat on Marchinbar Island (Palmer et al. 2003; Southgate et al. 1996; Woinarski et al. 1999). Mainland populations are threatened by carnivorous feral animals such as rats, cats, dogs and foxes (Van Dyck & Strahan 2008). The contraction of the area of occupancy of mainland populations is considered to be linked to a density increase of carnivorous feral animals and altered fire regimes.
The following table presents potential threats to most known locations (Palmer et al. 2003):
|Location of current known populations||Potential threats||Some examples of co-occurring declining species|
|Bachsten Creek (mainland)||
|Augustus Island (Kimberley)||
|Yampi Sound Training Area (mainland)||
|Prince Regent Nature Reserve (mainland)||
|Mitchell Plateau (mainland)||
Populations of Golden Bandicoot (mainland) occur in remote areas with poor accessibility. This may increase costs associated with on-ground management and adaptive research. The following recovery actions may benefit the health of Golden Bandicoot (mainland) populations (Palmer et al. 2003):
- Develop and implement cooperative management arrangements between relevant agencies, land managers and landowners (Commonwealth, State, Territory and at the regional level).
- Convene a multiple species recovery team (collaborating across jurisdictions to address the issue of faunal decline in northern Australia).
- Monitor the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) to determine population trends.
- In the Northern Territory, translocate Golden Bandicoots (mainland) from Marchinbar Island to two other suitable islands and follow-up with ongoing monitoring of source and translocated populations.
- Identify key threatening processes affecting critical weight range mammals in the tropical savannas generallly and initiate management to ameliorate threats.
- Develop appropriate educational and communication materials targeted at the diverse range of stakeholders.
- Inform and involve the community and all stakeholders in the recovery process.
The Marthakal Homelands Resource Association received $29 455 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 200708. The Gumurr Marthakal Rangers and Traditional Owners of the Wessel Islands will work collaboratively with scientists from the Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, and the Northern Land Council Caring for Country Unit to translocate 20 Golden Bandicoots from the only known site in the Northern Territory (Marchinbar Island) to establish a second population on the ecologically suitable Guluwuru Island. This will reduce the risk of losing the Golden Bandicoot (mainland) population in the Northern Territory should feral cats be accidentally introduced to Marchinbar Island.
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|
|Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation||Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat)||Recovery plan for the Golden Bandicoot Isoodon auratus and Golden-backed Tree-rat Mesembriomys macrurus 2004 - 2009 (Palmer, C., R. Taylor & A. Burbidge, 2003) [Recovery Plan].|
|Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation||Canis lupus familiaris (Domestic Dog)||
Isoodon auratus auratus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006mc) [Internet].
Population and habitat characteristics of the golden bandicoot (Isoodon auratus) on Marchinbar Island, Northern Territory. Wildlife Research. 23:647-664. (Southgate, R., C. Palmer, M. Adams, P. Masters, B. Triggs & J. Woinarski, 1996) [Journal].
|Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity)||Isoodon auratus auratus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006mc) [Internet].|
|Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes||The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes (Maxwell, S., A.A. Burbidge & K. Morris, 1996) [Cwlth Action Plan].|
Close, R.L., J.D. Murray & D.A. Briscoe (1990). Electrophoretic and chromosome surveys of the taxa of short-nosed bandicoots within the genus Isoodon. In: Seebeck, J.H., P.R. Brown, R.L. Wallis & C.M. Kemper, eds. Bandicoots and Bilbies. Page(s) 19-27. Chipping Norton, NSW: Surrey Beatty & Sons Pty Ltd.
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.
Ellis, M., P. Wilson & S. Hamilton (1991). The golden bandicoot, Isoodon auratus Ramsay 1887, in western New South Wales during European times. Australian Zoologist. 27:36-37.
Friend, J.A. (1990). Status of bandicoots in Western Australia. In: Seebeck, J., P. Brown, R. Wallis & C. Kemper, eds. Bandicoots and Bilbies. Page(s) 73-84. Sydney: Surrey Beatty & Sons.
Friend, J.A., K.D. Morris & N.L. McKenzie (1991). The mammal fauna of Kimberley rainforests. In: McKenzie, N.L., R.B. Johnston & P.G. Kendrick, eds. Kimberley Rainforests. Page(s) 393-412. Chipping Norton, NSW: Surrey Beatty & Sons.
Johnson, K.A. & R.I. Southgate (1990). Present and former status of bandicoots in the Northern Territory. In: Seebeck, J., P. Brown, R. Wallis & C. Kemper, eds. Bandicoots and Bilbies. Page(s) 85-92. Sydney: Surrey Beatty & Sons.
Lyne, A.G. & P.A. Mort (1981). A comparison of skull morphology in the marsupial bandicoot genus Isoodon: its taxonomic implications and notes on a new species, Isoodon arnhemensis. Australian Mammalogy. 4:107-133.
Maxwell, S., A.A. Burbidge & K. Morris (1996). The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. [Online]. Wildlife Australia, Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/action-plan-australian-marsupials-and-monotremes.
McKenzie, N.L. (1983). Golden Bandicoot. In: Strahan, R., ed. The Complete Book of Australian Mammals. Page(s) 98. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
McKenzie, N.L., A. Chapman & W.K. Youngson (1978). Mammals. Wildlife Research Bulletin, Western Australia. 7:22-28.
McKenzie, N.L., A.A. Burbidge, A. Chapman & W.K. Youngson (1975). Mammals. Wildlife Research Bulletin, Western Australia. 3:69-74.
Palmer, C., R. Taylor & A. Burbidge (2003). Recovery plan for the Golden Bandicoot Isoodon auratus and Golden-backed Tree-rat Mesembriomys macrurus 2004 - 2009. [Online]. Northern Territory: Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/i-auratus-m-macrurus/index.html.
Pardon, L.G., B.W. Brook, A.D. Griffiths & R.W. Braithwaite (2003). Determinants of survival for the Northern Brown Bandicoot under a landscape-scale fire experiment. Journal of Animal Ecology. 72:106-115.
Parker, S.A. (1973). An annotated checklist of the native land mammals of the Northern Territory. Records of the South Australian Museum. 16:1-57.
Pope, L., D. Storch, M. Adams, C. Moritz & G. Gordon (2001). A phylogeny for the genus Isoodon and a range extension for I. obesulus penninsulae based on mtDNA control region and morphology. Australian Journal of Zoology. 49:411-434.
Southgate, R., C. Palmer, M. Adams, P. Masters, B. Triggs & J. Woinarski (1996). Population and habitat characteristics of the golden bandicoot (Isoodon auratus) on Marchinbar Island, Northern Territory. Wildlife Research. 23:647-664.
Tate, G.H.H. (1948). Results of the Archbold Expeditions. No. 60. Studies in the Peramelidae (Marsupialia). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 92:313-346.
Van Dyck, S. & R. Strahan (2008). The Mammals of Australia, Third Edition. Page(s) 880. Sydney: Reed New Holland.
Woinarski, J.C.Z., C. Palmer, A. Fisher, R. Southgate, P. Masters & K. Brennan (1999). Distributional patterning of mammals on the Wessel and English Company Islands, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology. 47:87-111.
Zenger, K.R., M.D.B. Eldridge & P.G. Johnston (2005). Phylogenetics, population structure and genetic diversity of the endangered southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) in south-eastern Australia. Conservation Genetics. 6:193-204.
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). Isoodon auratus auratus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:44:17 +1000.