Fawn antechinus

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Fawn antechinus[1]
Fawn Antechinus.JPG
Scientific classification
A. bellus
Binomial name
Antechinus bellus
(Thomas, 1904)
Fawn Antechinus.png
Distribution of the fawn antechinus

The fawn antechinus (Antechinus bellus) is a species of small carnivorous marsupial found in northern Australia. It is the only Antechinus to be found in the Northern Territory and has a patchy, restricted range.


The earliest collection of a fawn antechinus was made by John T. Tunney,[3] and first described in 1904 by the renowned biologist Oldfield Thomas, who gave it the species name bellus, meaning beautiful.[4] It has never been confused with other species.

It is a member of the family Dasyuridae and of the genus Antechinus (meaning "hedgehog-equivalent"), which has nine other members.


The fawn antechinus is unique among antechinuses, being considerably paler than many of its relatives. It is a light grey colour and is distinguished from the only other similar species in the area where it lives (the sandstone dibbler and the red-cheeked dunnart) by its larger size and paler colouring. It is insectivorous and, like many of its relatives, all of the males die after the breeding season .[5]

The fawn antechinus has a breeding season during August. Young are born in September–October in litters of up to ten, and are usually weaned by January.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The fawn antechinus is found in the Top End of the Northern Territory, where it is fairly common.[4] It inhabits tall, fairly open forest in the tropics.


  1. ^ Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ IUCN World Conservation congress, 2016
  3. ^ Kristofer M. Helgen; Roberto Portela Miguez; James Kohen; Lauren Helgen (2012). "Twentieth century occurrence of the Long-Beaked Echidna Zaglossus bruijnii in the Kimberley region of Australia". ZooKeys. 255: 103–132. doi:10.3897/zookeys.255.3774. PMC 3560862. PMID 23459668.
  4. ^ a b Calaby, J.H. (1995). "Fawn Antechinus". In Strahan, Ronald (ed.). The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books. pp. 85–86.
  5. ^ a b Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 54.