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 as Pseudomys pilligaensis
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Pseudomys pilligaensis (Pilliga Mouse) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008dg) [Conservation Advice].
 
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pseudomys pilliagaensis (Pilliga Mouse) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2012ac) [Listing Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not 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] as Pseudomys pillagaensis.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Pseudomys pilligaensis.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:NSW Threatened Species - Pilliga Mouse - profile (NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW DECC), 2005ad) [Internet].
NSW:Pilliga Mouse - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005kj) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Pseudomys pilligaensis
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Data Deficient (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Pseudomys pilligaensis [99]
Family Muridae:Rodentia:Mammalia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Fox and Briscoe,1980
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Other names Pseudomys pillagaensis [26182]
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
http://www.mdbc.gov.au/education/encyclopedia/wildlife/Mammals/Pilliga_Mouse.htm

Scientific name: Pseudomys pilligaensis

Common name: Pilliga Mouse

Recent genetic work suggests that the Pilliga Mouse is a southern population of the non-significant Delicate Mouse (Pseudomys delicatulus) (Breed & Ford 2007; Van Dyck & Strahan 2008; Woinarski et al. 2014). Previous work suggested that while the Pilliga Mouse was closely related to the Delicate Mouse and the New Holland Mouse (Pseudomys novaehollandiae) it was a separate species (NSW DECC 2005).

The Pilliga Mouse is a small rodent with grey fur and a white belly. Its dark tail ends with a small, black tuft. This species grows to 8 cm long, with a tail to 8 cm long, and weighs 6–16.5 g (mean 11 g and larger weights are recorded in peak population periods). This species is distinguished by its relatively long hindfeet (Strahan 1998; Tokushima & Jarman 2008).

The Pilliga Mouse is known only from the type locality in Pilliga, NSW, and three other nearby sites all in the immediate surrounding area (Fox & Briscoe 1980). This includes the Pilliga Nature Reserve and the adjacent Pilliga State Forest (Lee 1995). This area is known as the Pilliga Scrub (Tokushima et al. 2008).

Tokushima and colleagues (2008) undertook surveys between September 1997 and September 2001 to model the density of this species at a site north of Coonabarabran.

The population size of the Pilliga Mouse is hard to estimate and demographics are irruptive. Paull and Milledge (2011) mapped potential suitable habitat of the species and, based on density calculations, estimate a population of 50–100 000 during irruptive periods (i.e. La Nina events).

One survey observed an irruptive population in post fire habitat during a high rainfall period (Tokushima et al. 2008). It is unknown which of these factors is more important for the Pilliga Mouse: rainfall, and associated food availability, is known to lead to population increases in arid and semi arid rodents; similarly, other rodent species have shown higher population densities in areas of regenerating vegetation (Tokushima et al. 2008). A study reported sparse populations following wet years in an area unburnt for 14–30 years (Fox & Briscoe 1980).

Tokushima and colleagues (2008) showed a population density peak of 15–90 mice/ha (from a low of 0–5 mice/ha) during a population irruption. This increase occurred 20 months after a wildfire during a high rainfall period.

No specific habitat type has been identified for the Pilliga Mouse as specimens have been captured in different vegetation types within the Pilliga Scrub (Fox & Briscoe 1980). These included mixed Eucalyptus, Acacia and Callitris open forest. The Pilliga Mouse is found in greatest abundance in recently burnt moist gullies, areas dominated by Broombush (Melaleuca uncinata) and areas containing an understorey of Acacia burrowii with a Corymbia trachyphloia overstorey. Consistent features of the latter two habitats were: a relatively high plant species richness; a moderate to high low-shrub cover; site moisture retention; and groundcover of plants, litter and fungi. Areas with high rates of capture have extensive low grasses and sedges, with little shrub cover and large areas of ash-covered ground (Fox & Briscoe 1980; NSW DECC 2005ad; Tokushima et al. 2008).

Breeding habitat for the species has been recorded as Broombush scrub, Corymbia/Acacia woodlands and Red Gum (Eucalyptus chloroclada)/Rough-barked Apple (Angophora floribunda)/Corymbia heathy woodlands. In some instances Broad-leaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus fibrosa), Dwyer's Red Gum (Eucalyptus dwyeri) and Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus rossii) dominate overstorey, and Calytrix tetragona dominates the understorey of breeding habitat (Paull & Milledge 2011). Broombush used as over wintering and breeding sites tend to consist of young (1.5–3 year regrowth) or mature (>25 years old) trees (Paull 2009; Paull & Milledge 2011).

Topography of sites where this species is found include rolling landscapes with low relief on sandy soil and sandstone ridges (Lee 1995; Tokushima et al. 2008). This species occurs in an area of of low-nutrient deep sands with mean annual rainfall of approximately 750 mm (Tokushima et al. 2008).

During non-peak population periods distribution is patchy and during peak periods distribution is ubiquitous (Tokushima et al. 2008). No low density non-peak refugia have been identified.

Reproductively active females have been detected in all trapping periods, including winter. The peak breeding season is between October and April (Tokushima et al. 2008). Peak population densities occur towards the end of the breeding season (Tokushima et al. 2008). Some females have been observed to have multiple litters during a single breeding season and breeding during successive summers has been observed (Tokushima et al. 2008).

Population irruptions have been observed in disturbed (including post fire) habitats during high rainfall periods. Peak densities occur approximately 20 months following disturbance events. Population declines, following a peak, are rapid and may be the result of shortage of food, social suppression of reproduction, predation and disease (Tokushima et al. 2008).

Inter-annual survivorship is greatest during irruptive population periods (Tokushima & Jarman 2008). The Pilliga Mouse is terrestrial and lives in burrows (Strahan 1998).

Seed is the main food of the Pilliga Mouse (95% of its diet in spring and summer and 62% in winter). Leaf matter makes up the remainder of the diet (Jefferys & Fox 2001).

Tokushima and Jarman (2008) measured average movement distances of 40 m (range 0–181 m) for recaptured individuals, however, larger movement patterns cannot be disregarded.

Tokushima and colleagues (2008) successfully used Elliott live traps (33 x 10 x 9 cm) baited with peanut butter and rolled oats for the trapping of the Pilliga Mouse. Traps were shaded from frost and sunlight, and insulated in winter to maintain the welfare of caught specimens (Tokushima et al. 2008). Traps were modified to be triggered by specimens as small as 8 g (Tokushima et al. 2008).

Exploration, infrastructure construction and infrastructure maintenance associated with coal seam gas threatens the Pilliga Mouse. Paull and Milledge (2011) estimate that 20–50 000 ha of suitable/marginal Pilliga Mouse habitat occurs within the Pilliga East State Forest, which is a focal point of the the coal seam gas activity.

Identified threats to the Pilliga Mouse include loss or degradation of habitat through inappropriate fire regimes, forestry operations and broombrush harvesting; predation by feral cats (Felis catus) and foxes (Vulpes vulpes); and competition from the common house mouse (Mus musculus) (Dickman et al. 2000; Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2008dg). Forestry associated threats are particularly important in forests with > 30% cover of low shrubs (below 50 cm in height), an absence of tall understorey (at 2 m height) and a > 20 cm layer of sand (NSW DECC 2005ad).

Identification, management and protection of non-peak refugia is essential (Tokushima et al. 2008). Priority recovery actions suggested in the Conservation Advice for the Pilliga Mouse (Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2008dg) and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (2005ad) include:

  • Identify habitat requirements, especially dependence on Acacia (Lee 1995).
  • Determine and implement fire management and forestry operations that are most appropriate for the Pilliga Mouse.
  • Undertake survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat to locate any additional populations.
  • Monitor known populations to identify key threats.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Investigate any records outside of the Pilliga forests.
  • Prevent clearing of habitat, such as nesting sites.
  • Develop a broombrush harvesting management and burning plan that caters for the species' requirements.
  • Investigate further formal conservation arrangements such as the use of covenants, conservation agreements or inclusion in reserve tenure.
  • Develop and implement a management plan for the control and eradication of feral predators within the local region.
  • Raise awareness of the Pilliga Mouse within the local community.
  • Establish a captive breeding program to ascertain taxonomic status by back-crossing experiments (Lee 1995).

Major studies of the Pilliga Mouse include Tokushima and colleagues (2008) and Tokushima and Jarman (2008), which studied the irruptive demography of this species.

The following documents may assist in the management and recovery of the Pilliga Mouse:

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 Pseudomys pilligaensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006su) [Internet].
Biological Resource Use:Gathering Terrestrial Plants:Commercial harvest Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Pseudomys pilligaensis (Pilliga Mouse) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008dg) [Conservation Advice].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat disturbance due to foresty activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Pseudomys pilligaensis (Pilliga Mouse) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008dg) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Pseudomys pilligaensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006su) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox, Fox) 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:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Pseudomys pilligaensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006su) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, competition and/or habitat degradation Mus musculus (House Mouse) 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, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) 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].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Pseudomys pilligaensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006su) [Internet].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Pseudomys pilligaensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006su) [Internet].

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., D. Lunney & A. Matthews (2000). Ecological attributes and conservation of native rodents in New South Wales. Wildlife Research. 27:347-355.

Environment Australia (EA) (1999a). Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the European Red Fox. [Online]. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/foxes08.html.

Environment Australia (EA) (1999b). Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats. [Online]. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/cats08.html.

Fox, B.J. & D.A. Briscoe (1980). Pseudomys pilligaensis, a new species of murid rodent from the Pilliga Scrub, northern New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy. 3:109-126.

Jefferys, E.A. & B.J. Fox (2001). The diet of the Pilliga mouse, Pseudomys pilligaensis (Rodentia: Muridae) from the Pilliga Scrub, northern New South Wales. In: Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. 123:89-99.

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

NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW DECC) (2005ad). NSW Threatened Species - Pilliga Mouse - profile. [Online]. Available from: http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=10690.

Paull, D.C. (2009). Habitat and Post-fire Selection of the Pilliga Mouse 'Pseudomys pilligaensis' in Pilliga East State Forest. Pacific Conservation Biology. 15:254-267.

Paull, D.C. & D. Milledge (2011). Results of the survey for the Pilliga Mouse Pseudomys pilligaensis in Pilliga East State Forest (October 2011) and review of habitat requirements. Unpublished report.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008dg). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Pseudomys pilligaensis (Pilliga Mouse). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/99-conservation-advice.pdf.

Tokushima, H. & P.J. Jarman (2008). Ecology of the rare but irruptive Pilliga mouse (Pseudomys pilligaensis). II. Demography, home range and dispersal. Australian Journal of Zoology. 56:375-387.

Tokushuma, H., S.W. Green & P.J. Jarman (2008). Ecology of the rare but irruptive Pilliga mouse (Pseudomys pilligaensis). I. Population fluctuation and breeding season. Australian Journal of Zoology. 56:363-373.

Van Dyck, S. & R. Strahan (2008). The Mammals of Australia, Third Edition. Page(s) 880. Sydney: Reed New Holland.

Woinarski, J., A. Burbidge & P. Harrison (2014). The Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012. CSIRO Publishing, Victoria, Australia.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

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 pilligaensis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 2 Sep 2014 12:13:11 +1000.