Wallaby

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A wallaby is any animal belonging to the family Macropodidae that is smaller than a kangaroo and hasn't been designated otherwise.

Overview[edit]

Forest-dwelling wallabies are known as "pademelons" (genus Thylogale) and "dorcopsises" (genera Dorcopsis and Dorcopsulus). The name "wallaby" comes from the Eora, who were the first human inhabitants of the Sydney area. Young wallabies are known as "joeys", like many other marsupials. Adult male wallabies are referred to as "bucks", "boomers", or "jacks". An adult female wallaby is known as a "doe", "flyer", or "jill". A group of wallabies is called a "court", "mob", or "troupe". Although members of most wallaby species are small, some can grow up to six feet in length (from head to tail).

Wallabies are herbivores whose diet consists of a wide range of grasses, vegetables, leaves, and other foliage. Due to recent urbanization, many wallabies now feed in rural and urban areas. Wallabies cover vast distances for food and water, which is often scarce in their environment. Mobs of wallabies often congregate around the same water hole during the dry season.

Their powerful hind legs are not only used for bounding at high speeds and jumping great heights, but also to administer vigorous kicks to fend off potential predators. The Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) has elastic storage in the ankle extensor tendons, without which the animal’s metabolic rate might be 30-50% greater.[1] It has also been found that the design of spring-like tendon energy savings and economical muscle force generation is key for the two distal muscle–tendon units of the Tammar wallaby (Macropus-Eugenii).[2] Wallabies also have a powerful tail that is used mostly for balance and support. The tails are also known to knock even the strongest of predators with one tail whip

Wallabies face several threats. Wild dogs, foxes, and feral cats are among the predators they face. Humans also pose a significant threat to wallabies due to increased interaction. Many wallabies have been involved in vehicular accidents as they often feed near roads and urban areas.

Classification[edit]

Wallabies are not a distinct genetic group. Nevertheless, they fall into several broad categories. Typical wallabies of the genus Macropus, like the agile wallaby (Macropus agilis), and the red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) are most closely related to the kangaroos and wallaroos and, size aside, look very similar. These are the ones most frequently seen, particularly in the southern states.

Red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) joey in pouch

Rock-wallabies (genus Petrogale), rather like the goats of the northern hemisphere, specialise in rugged terrain and have modified feet adapted to grip rock with skin friction rather than dig into soil with large claws. There are at least fifteen species and the relationship between several of them is poorly understood. Several are endangered. Captive rock wallaby breeding programs like the one at Healesville Sanctuary have had some success and a small number have recently been released into the wild.

The banded hare-wallaby (Lagostrophus fasciatus) is thought to be the last remaining member of the once-numerous subfamily Sthenurinae, and although once common across southern Australia, is now restricted to two islands off the Western Australian coast which are free of introduced predators. It is not as closely related to the other hare wallabies (genus Lagorchestes) as the hare wallabies are to the other wallabies.

New Guinea, which was until fairly recent geological times part of mainland Australia,[3] has at least five species of wallaby.

Natural range and habitat[edit]

Wallabies are widely distributed across Australia, particularly in more remote, heavily timbered, or rugged areas, less so on the great semi-arid plains that are better suited to the larger, leaner, and more fleet-footed kangaroos. They also can be found at the island of New Guinea.[4]

Introduced populations[edit]

Wallabies of several species have been introduced to other parts of the world, and there are a number of breeding feral populations, including:

Species[edit]

Mother wallaby with joey in the Tasmanian summer rain
The swamp wallaby is the only living representative of the genus Wallabia. This individual exhibits the species' unusual preference for browsing; note the use of the forelimbs to grasp the plant.
Three wallabies (one grey with joey in pouch, and one white) in captivity in England

As mentioned above, the term wallaby is not well defined and can mean just about any macropod of moderate size. In consequence, the listing below is arbitrary and taken from the complete list of macropods.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biewener, A. A.; Baudinette, R. V. (Sep 1995). "In-Vivo Muscle Force and Elastic Energy-Storage during Steady-Speed Hopping of Tammar Wallabies (Macropus-Eugenii)". Journal of Experimental Biology 198 (9): 1829–1841. 
  2. ^ Biewener, A. A.; McGowan, C. Card, G. M. Baudinette, R. V. (Jan 2004). "Dynamics of leg muscle function in tammar wallabies (M-eugenii) during level versus incline hopping". Journal of Experimental Biology 207 (2): 211–223. doi:10.1242/Jeb.00764. 
  3. ^ See Australia (continent)
  4. ^ For example the agile wallaby – and arguably the many species of tree-kangaroo
  5. ^ a b c "Where to hunt wallabies", DOC
  6. ^ Napp, Bernie (2006-09-04). Auckland Conservacy wins Joey Award. doc.govt.nz
  7. ^ Wallabies: Introduction, connovation.co.nz
  8. ^ Wallabies. ecan.govt.nz
  9. ^ "Searching for the Isle of Man's wild wallabies". BBC. 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  10. ^ "Earlham College – Biology Department – Introduced Species In Hawaii – Mammals". Earlham.edu. 1959-12-09. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  11. ^ Yalden, D. W.; Hosey, G. R. (2009). "Feral wallabies in the Peak District". Journal of Zoology 165 (4): 513. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1971.tb02203.x. 
  12. ^ "Wallabies and yaks". The Roaches Peak District, Roaches.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  13. ^ "Loch Lomond Islands: Inchconnachan". Loch Lomond.net. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  14. ^ "Scottish Daily Record, 06/06/2009 Colony of Wallabies set for cull". Dailyrecord.co.uk. 2009-06-06. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  15. ^ David Goodwin (2009-06-16). "The Scottish Sun Wallabies butchered". Thesun.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  16. ^ McLean, Marc (2009-06-05). "Wallabies face being wiped out". Lennoxherald.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  17. ^ Brian Dolan (2010-07-08). "Archaeological Wallabies on Lambay Island". www.seandalaiocht.com. 
  18. ^ Enquête sur le Wallaby de Bennett en Forêt d'Yvelines. cerf78.fr

External links[edit]