|Distribution of the Kultarr|
The Kultarr (Antechinomys laniger), also known as the Jerboa-marsupial, the Jerboa Pouched-mouse, the Wuhl-wuhl or the Pitchi-pitchi, is a member of the Dasyuromorphia order. It is the only species in the Antechinomys genus. Native to central and southern Australia, it lives in a range of habitats including scattered woodland and scrubby semidesert.
The Kultarr was described in 1856 by John Gould, who placed it in the genus Phascogale. It was placed in the dunnart genus Sminthopsis for some time until it was confirmed, on the basis of molecular findings, that it belonged in its own genus, Antechinomys (meaning "antechinus-mouse"), which had been described by Gerard Krefft in 1867. Its other common names refer to its superficial similarity to jerboas; the species has also been compared to the Australian hopping mice.
The Kultarr has often been considered as two species in the past, A. laniger in the east and A. spenceri in the west. The latter is now relegated to subspecific status. The species name laniger means "woolly".
The Kultarr usually measures 7–10 cm, with a 10–15 cm tail. It weighs 20-30g; males are larger and heavier than females. The most distinctive features are the large four-toed hind legs, enabling a hopping motion, and prominent ears. It is coloured fawn grey to sandy brown above, with a white chest and darker eye-ring.
The Kultarr is a solitary carnivore, feeding mostly on terrestrial invertebrates including cockroaches, spiders and crickets. Mating occurs in winter and spring, with young being born around August–November. The species nests in soil cracks or utilises abandoned burrows of other species.
Distribution and habitat
The Kultarr is an uncommon species found throughout much of arid Australia, although its range has decreased in recent years. Isolated populations at Cedar Bay in Queensland and in southern New South Wales are believed to be extinct.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). "Order Dasyuromorphia". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Morris, K., Woinarski, J., Ellis, M., Robinson, T. & Copley, P. (2008). Antechinomys laniger. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
- Valente, A. (1995). "Kultarr". In Strahan, Ronald. The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-7301-0484-2
- Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 58. ISBN 0-19-550870-X.