Carpentarian rock rat

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Carpentarian rock rat
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Genus: Zyzomys
Z. palatalis
Binomial name
Zyzomys palatalis
Kitchener, 1989.[2]

The Carpentarian rock rat (Zyzomys palatalis) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae.[3] It is found only in Australia.


The description of the species was published by Darrell Kitchener in 1989, emerging from a revision of the genus Zyzomys. The holotype was a pregnant female, collected at Wollogorang Station, in a deep ravine called Echo Gorge. The sandstone environment of the type location was an association of plants that included Eucalyptus dichromophloia. The specific epithet palatis is derived from Latin, and refers to the characteristic morphology of their palate.[2]


It is a small and compact conilurine rodent. Its fur is grey-brown above and pale below. The tail is used to store fat at its base, making it carrot-shaped; the skin of the tail is fragile and easily damaged by handling. The average weight of individuals is about 120 g.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It has a very limited range, being currently known from only five localities within the Wollogorang Station pastoral lease of the Northern Territory, close to the border with Queensland, near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Crucial habitat characteristics are rugged sandstone gorges with a cover of dry monsoon vine-thicket or tropical woodland, and with access to permanent water.


The estimated size of the wild population of this species is less than 2000.[4] The main threat is from hot, late dry-season, fires. It is classified as being Critically Endangered. It is subject to conservation management, including a captive breeding program at the Territory Wildlife Park.[5]


  1. ^ Woinarski, J.; Burbidge, A.A. (2016). "Zyzomys palatalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T23327A22457211. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T23327A22457211.en. Retrieved 9 January 2018.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Kitchener, D.J. (1989). "Taxonomic appraisal of Zyzomys (Rodentia, Muridae) with descriptions of two new species from the Northern Territory, Australia". Records of the Western Australian Museum. 14 (3): 331–373.
  3. ^ Musser, G.G.; Carleton, M.D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1521. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^
  5. ^ [1] Revised Recovery Plan for the Carpentarian Rock-Rat, Zyzomys palatalis (January 2003)