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
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the 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
VIC:Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 187 - Heath Mouse Pseudomys shortridgei (Watson, A.J., E.P. Meulman & J.H. Seebeck, 2003) [State Action Plan].
WA:Fauna Species Profiles - Heath Mouse Pseudomys shortridgei (Thomas 1907) (Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC), 2010r) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
SA: Listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list)
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list)
WA: Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Near Threatened (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
VIC: Listed as Near Threatened (Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 list)
Scientific name Pseudomys shortridgei [77]
Family Muridae:Rodentia:Mammalia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Thomas, 1907)
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: Pseudomys shortridgei

Common name: Dayang

Other common name: Heath Rat

Genetic studies have shown a 2.6% sequence divergence between the western and eastern Dayang populations (Cooper et al. 2003). The populations have probably been disjunct for a few thousand years (Cooper et al. 2003) and should be treated as separate Evolutionary Significant Units (Salinas et al. 2009). The genetic divergence between other species of the Pseudomys genus is greater than the genetic divergence of Dayang populations (Cooper et al. 2003).

The Dayang is a small rodent that is grey-brown, flecked with buff and black, and paler below. It has a blunt face, bulging eyes and short, rounded ears. It grows to 12 cm long and can weigh up to 90 g. It has a hairy, non-annulated (no ringlike bands) tail growing to 11 cm long (Menkhorst et al. 2008; Strahan 1998).

The Dayang has a disjunct range across southern Australia, occurring in south-west Victoria, southern SA and southern WA (Cockburn 1995). The species was described in 1907 from a specimen from Woyerling, WA, and was thought to be extinct in the state until its rediscovery in 1987 (Cancilla 2006). The species was discovered in Victoria in 1961 (Menkhorst et al. 2008).

In eastern Australia, the Dayang almost exclusively occurs in recently burnt, floral species-rich, treeless, dry heathlands in south-west Victoria (Cockburn 1995). In Victoria, the species is known from Grampian State Forest, Lower Glenelg National Park (NP), Bats Ridge Fauna Reserve and Mount Eccles NP (Cancilla 2006). A specimen was collected from Kangaroo Island in 1967 (Cancilla 2006).

In WA, it is known from Fitzgerald River NP, Lake Magenta Reserve, the Lake Biddy area, Dragon Rocks Reserve, Hyden and Ravensthorpe (Cooper et al 2003). Prior to European colonisation, the species was more extensive, occurring from Shark Bay to Esperance (Cooper et al. 2003).

One survey in WA reported very low Dayang captures, with 4460 Elliott trap nights and 1494 pitfall trap nights recording just 77 capture events from eleven sites (Chapman et al. unpub. cited in Cooper et al. 2003).

A study at one site in WA revealed a very stable population with few changes to abundance over a three year period (Cancilla 2006). Population density at Lake Magenta, WA, has been recorded at 1.95 per ha and in Victoria at 6 per ha (Cancilla 2006).

In eastern Australia, the Dayang prefers recently burnt (preferably 7–10 years post fire), floral species-rich, treeless, dry heathlands in an area with 600 mm annual rainfall (Cockburn 1995). The optimum situation for the species appears to be a mosaic of habitats of differing maturity, subject to the disturbance by fire (Cockburn 1978). Some populations occur in Eucalyptus forest with a heathy understorey (Menkhorst 1995).

In WA, the Dayang occurs in mallee scrub over heath and mixed scrub (with Banksia spp.) over sedge, unburnt for at least 20 years (Quinlan et al. 2004) in areas with 350 mm annual rainfall (Cancilla 2006). Mallee species include Eucalyptus gardneri ravensthorpensis. Soils include loamy sands or sandy loams with a lateriteic scree and clayey soils with a stony component (Chapman et al. unpub. cited in Cooper et al. 2003). Records have been made from seasonally damp sites low in the landscape and on top of a rocky ridge, about 40 m high. Most records come from long unburnt sites (between 30 and 70 years), although there may be a lack of survey effort in recently burnt suitable habitat (Cooper et al. 2003).

There are no particular microhabitat requirements for Dayang reproduction, although floristically species-rich stages of the habitat can be important (Cockburn 1978; Cockburn et al. 1981). Breeding occurs during late spring and summer. Females commence breeding at 10–12 months and can produce a maximum of two litters of three young per year (Cockburn et al. 1981). Sex ratios of approximately 1: 1.78 (female: male) have been observed in eastern and western populations (Cancilla 2006).

The Dayang has a preference for leaf and stem material, and there is a fungal intake during wetter periods and some insect collection through the year (Cancilla 2006). Diet is similar in eastern and western populations (Cancilla 2006).

In WA, the Dayang builds multiple shallow burrows, usually dug under a low bush, in which they seek shelter. They utilise several burrows that may be visited by other Dayang, but not concurrently. Two types of burrows have been recorded: those lined with nesting material and unlined. At Lake Magenta NR, Dayang predominantly build burrows under thick Banksia pteridifolia clumps and, at Ravensthorpe, burrows under Eucalyptus root mass have been recorded (Cancilla 2006).

In Victoria, the species nests above ground (Cancilla 2006).

The Dayang varies its life history strategies according to the successional stages of vegetation. In post-fire communities, juvenile dispersal rates are lower and survival is higher. In mature vegetation, young are forced to disperse longer distances, increasing the chance of population establishment in new patches of suitable habitat. In mature vegetation, if there is no suitable habitat nearby, widespread extinction ensues. Thus, the survival of the species requires a mosaic of vegetation patches (Menkhorst et al. 2008).

Survey guidelines relevant to the Dayang are in the Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened mammals (DSEWPaC 2011j).

Threats to the Dayang include: loss and fragmentation of habitat; inappropriate fire regimes (e.g. regime that does not create mosaics of differing ages); predation by the Cat (Felis catus), the Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and native avian predators (WA DEC 2010u).

Management documents relevant to the Dayang are at the start of the profile. The Action Plan for Australian Rodents (Lee 1995) may also be relevant.

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 The Action Plan for Australian Rodents (Lee, A.K., 1995) [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].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox, Fox) Pseudomys shortridgei in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006vh) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Pseudomys shortridgei in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006vh) [Internet].

Cancilla, D. (2006). The Status and Ecology of the Pseudomys shortridgei (Heath Mouse) in Southern Western Australia. Perth: Murdoch University.

Cockburn, A. (1978). The distribution of Pseudomys shortridgei (Muridae: Rodentia) and its relevance to that of other heathland Pseudomys. Australian Wildlife Research. 5:213-219.

Cockburn, A. (1995). Heath Rat. In: Strahan, R., ed. The Mammals of Australia. Page(s) 617-18. Reed Books.

Cockburn, A., R.W. Braithwaite & A.K. Lee (1981). The response of the heath rat, Pseudomys shortridgei, to pyric succession: a temporally dynamic life-history strategy. Journal of Animal Ecology. 50: 449-666.

Commonwealth of Australia (2000). 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. [Online]. F2005B02653. Canberra: Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. Available from: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2005B02653.

Cooper, N.K., T. Bertozzi, A. Baynes & R.J. Teale (2003). The relationship between eastern and western populations of the Heath Rat, Pseudomys shortridgei (Rodentia: Muridae). Records of the Western Australian Museum. 21:367-370.

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.

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

Menkhorst, P.W. (1995). Mammals of Victoria. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Menkhorst, P.W., A. Cockburn & D. Cancilla (2008). Heath Mouse Pseudomys shortridgei. In: The Mammals of Australia. 3rd edition. New Holland Publishers.

Quinlan, K., D. Moro & M. Lund (2004). Improved trapping success for rare species by targeting habitat types using remotely sensed data: case study of the heath mouse (Pseudomys shortridgei) in Western Australia. Wildlife Research. 31:219-227.

Salinas, M., M. Bunce, D. Cancilla, D.L. Alpers & P.B.S. Spencer (2009). Divergent lineages in the heath mouse (Pseudomys shortridgei) are indicative of major contraction to geographically isolated refugia on the eastern and western sides of Australia during the early Pleistocene. Australian Journal of Zoology. 57:41-47.

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

Watson, A.J., E.P. Meulman & J.H. Seebeck (2003). Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement 187 - Heath Mouse Pseudomys shortridgei. [Online]. Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. Available from: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/plants-and-animals/flora-and-fauna-guarantee-act-action-statements-index-of-approved-action-statements.

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2010r). Fauna Species Profiles - Heath Mouse Pseudomys shortridgei (Thomas 1907). [Online]. Available from: http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/3432/1999/1/4/.

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2010u). Fitzgerald Biosphere Recovery Plan.

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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). Pseudomys shortridgei in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sun, 27 Jul 2014 01:25:59 +1000.