Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo

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Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo[1]
A Lumholtz's tree kangaroo at David Fleay Wildlife Park in Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia.
Lumholtz's tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzii) at David Fleay Wildlife Park, Burleigh Heads, Queensland
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Macropodidae
Genus: Dendrolagus
Species:
D. lumholtzi
Binomial name
Dendrolagus lumholtzi
Collett, 1884
Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo area.png
Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo range
Lithograph of Dendrolagus lumholtzi by Joseph Smit, from Proceedings of the general meetings for scientific business of the Zoological Society of London, 1884

Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) is a heavy-bodied tree-kangaroo found in rain forests of the Atherton Tableland Region of Queensland. Its status is classified as near threatened [2] by the IUCN, and authorities consider it as rare.[3] It is named after the Norwegian explorer Carl Sofus Lumholtz (1851–1922),[4] who discovered the first specimen in 1883.

Description[edit]

It is the smallest of all tree-kangaroos, with males weighing an average of 7.2 kg (16 lbs) and females 5.9 kg (13 lbs).[5] Its head and body length ranges from 480–650 mm, and its tail, 600–740 mm.[6] It has powerful limbs and has short, grizzled grey fur. Its muzzle, toes and tip of tail are black. The Lumholtz's tree-kangaroos colonizes a variety of habitats, as long as they are flush with food and have stable and adaptable structural features.[7]

Social behaviour[edit]

Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo are generally solitary animals, with the exception of male-female mating and the long, intimate mother-joey relationship. Each kangaroo maintains a "home range" and will be hostile towards a member of the same sex that enters it (the one exception seems to be non-hostile encounters between adult males and their male offspring). Thus, the male will protect his own range, and visit the ranges of the females in his group. Mating takes place in episodes of about twenty minutes, and is often quite aggressive.

Blindness[edit]

In June 2019, it was reported that many Lumholtz's tree-kangaroos were going blind. Normally almost invisible in the treetops, they were being found in schools, sheds and in the middle of roads, unable to see and confused. Veterinarian Dr Andrew Peters, from Charles Sturt University, said he'd found evidence of optic nerve and brain damage, suggesting that a new viral infection was involved.

Dr. Karen Coombes, who has cared for injured tree kangaroos on her property west of Cairns for two decades, said she thought successive dry periods in the area were contributing to the eye problems. Her theory is that, because the animals only eat the leaves of the rainforest trees they inhabit, which are always fairly toxic, the drier-than-normal weather over recent years could have caused the toxins in the leaves to become more concentrated.[8] No toxin has been identified and this hypothesis remains speculative and unsubstantiated.

Other work by wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Amy Shima and wildlife biologist, Roger Martin (author of Tree-kangaroos of Australia and New Guinea), does not support these claims. Their fieldwork spanning 5 years has found no convincing evidence of widespread blindness in Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. Working with a comparative veterinary ocular pathologist from a university in the USA, Dr. Shima has looked at nearly 100 eyes from Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo carcasses (primarily road-killed animals) and has found no evidence of widespread blindness or pathology. These findings were recently presented in a poster presentation at the international Wildlife Disease Association conference.

References[edit]

  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. 60. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b Woinarski, J. & Burbridhe, A.A. (2016). "Dendrolagus lumholtzi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 18 November 2018. Database entry includes justification for why this species is near threatened
  3. ^ "Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo". Queensland Government. 2005-08-30. Archived from the original on 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  4. ^ "Carl Sofus Lumholtz - biography". Biography. Australian National Herbarium. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2010. citing: J.W. Cribb, The Queensland Naturalist, Vol.44, Nos.1-3, 2006
  5. ^ Flannery, Timothy F; Martin, Roger; Szalay, Alexandria (1996). Tree Kangaroos: A Curious Natural History. Australia: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7301-0492-3. Retrieved 2006-11-25.
  6. ^ Cronin, Leonard (2000). Australian Mammals: Key Guide (Revised ed.). Annandale, Sydney, Australia: Envirobooks. ISBN 0-85881-172-3.
  7. ^ Heise-Pavlov, Sigrid; Rhinier, Jaqueline; Burchill, Simon (January 17, 2018). "The use of a replanted riparian habitat by the Lumoltz's Tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi)". ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT & RESTORATION. 19 (1): 76–80. doi:10.1111/emr.12282.
  8. ^ Sexton-McGrath, Kristy (2019-06-17). "Lumholtz's tree kangaroo blindness mystifies experts, but toxic leaves could be to blame". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2019-06-17.

External links[edit]