Eastern long-beaked echidna

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Eastern long-beaked echidna[1]
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Monotremata
Family: Tachyglossidae
Genus: Zaglossus
Species: Z. bartoni
Binomial name
Zaglossus bartoni
(Thomas, 1907)
Eastern Long-beaked Echidna area.png
Eastern long-beaked echidna range

The eastern long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bartoni), also known as Barton's long-beaked echidna, is one of three species from the genus Zaglossus to occur in New Guinea. It is found mainly in Papua New Guinea at elevations between 2,000 and 3,000 metres (6,600 and 9,800 ft).

Taxonomy[edit]

Description[edit]

The eastern long-beaked echidna can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the number of claws on the fore and hind feet: it has five claws on its fore feet and four on its hind feet. Its weight varies from 5 to 10 kilograms (11 to 22 lb); its body length ranges from 60 to 100 centimetres (24 to 39 in); it has no tail. It has dense black fur. The species is the largest monotreme and is slow-moving. It rolls into a spiny ball for defense.

History[edit]

All long-beaked echidnas were classified as a single species, until 1998 when Flannery published an article identifying several new species and subspecies.[3] Three species were then recognized based on various attributes such as body size, skull morphology, and the number of toes on the front and back feet.[3]

There are four recognized subspecies of Zaglossus bartoni :[4]

  • Z. bartoni bartoni
  • Z. bartoni clunius
  • Z. bartoni smeenki
  • Z. bartoni diamondi

The population of each subspecies is geographically isolated. The subspecies are distinguished primarily by differences in body size.

Diet[edit]

Eastern long-beaked echidnas are mainly insect eaters, or insectivores. If you look at the physical appearance of this species of Long-Beaked Echidna, you would notice that it has a long snout and almost resembles a miniature anteater. This long snout proves essential for the Echidna’s survival because of its ability to get in between hard-to-reach places and scavenge for smaller insect organisms such as larvae and ticks. Along with this snout, they have a specific evolutionary adaptation in their tongues for snatching up various earthworms, which are its main type of food source.

Habitat[edit]

Zaglossus bartoni habitats include tropical hill forests to sub-alpine forests, upland grasslands and scrub. The species has been found in locations up to an elevation of around 4,150 m. Today is it rare to find Zaglossus bartoni at sea level.[5]

Conservation[edit]

Zaglossus bartoni is currently listed as Critically Endangered on the Red List.[6] Deforestation is one of the factors leading to the decline of this species.

Ecology and Behavior[edit]

Predators[edit]

Humans are the main factor in diminishing populations of eastern long-beaked echidnas. Locals in areas surrounding regions that these organisms inhabit often prey upon them for food. Feral dogs are known to occasionally consume this species. These mammals dig burrows, providing some protection from predation.

Reproduction[edit]

The eastern long-beaked echidna is a member of the order Monotremata. Although monotremes have the some of the same mammal features such as hair hair and mammary glands, they do not give birth to live young, they lay eggs. Like birds and reptiles, monotremes have a single opening, the cloaca. The cloaca allows for the passage of urine and feces, the transmission of sperm, and the laying of eggs.[7]

Little is actually known about the breeding behaviors of this animal, due to the difficulty of finding and tracking specimens.[8] Unfortunately, the way the spines on the echidna lie make it difficult to attach tracking devices, in addition to the difficulty in finding the animals themselves, as they are mainly nocturnal.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). "Order Monotremata". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Leary, T., Seri, L., Flannery, T., Wright, D., Hamilton, S., Helgen, K., Singadan, R., Menzies, J., Allison, A., James, R., Aplin, K., Salas, L. & Dickman, C. (2008). Zaglossus bartoni. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as critically endangered.
  3. ^ a b Flannery, T. F.; Groves, C. P. (Jan 1998). "A revision of the genus Zaglossus (Monotremata, Tachyglossidae), with description of new species and subspecies". 'Mammalia' 6 (3): 367–396. doi:10.1515/mamm.1998.62.3.367. 
  4. ^ Wilson, Don E. "Zaglossus bartoni". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  5. ^ . iucn red list http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/136552/0. Retrieved 25 October 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ . iucn red list http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/136552/0.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Monotreme". Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition. EBSCOhost. 2013. ISBN 9780787650155. 
  8. ^ a b Opiang, Muse (April 2009). "Home Ranges, Movement, and Den Use in Long-Beaked Echidnas, Zaglossus Bartoni, From Papua New Guinea". Journal of Mammalogy (American Society of Mammalogists) 9 (2): 340–346. doi:10.1644/08-MAMM-A-108.1. 
  • Flannery, T.F. and Groves, C.P. 1998. A revision of the genus Zaglossus (Monotremata, Tachyglossidae), with description of new species and subspecies. Mammalia, 62(3): 367–396

External links[edit]

  • EDGE of Existence (Zaglossus spp.) – Saving the World's most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species