Spectacled hare-wallaby

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Spectacled hare-wallaby[1]
Temporal range: Recent[2]
Lag cons.jpg
Plate 58 of Mammals of Australia Vol. II
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Macropodidae
Genus: Lagorchestes
L. conspicillatus
Binomial name
Lagorchestes conspicillatus
Gould, 1842
Spectacled Hare Wallaby.JPG
Spectacled hare-wallaby range

The spectacled hare-wallaby (Lagorchestes conspicillatus) is a species of macropod (hence a marsupial) found in Australia and New Guinea. In Australia, a small sub-population is found on Barrow Island, while the mainland type is widespread, though in decline, across northern regions of the country.[3]


A species of Lagorchestes, hare-wallaby are small members of the family Macropodidae. The spectacled hare-wallaby is found across northern Australia in tropical tussock or spinifex habitats. It can be found from Queensland to Western Australia. In 1997, it was discovered in the savanna country of southwest Papua New Guinea, in the upper Bensbach River area.[4] It is a solitary, nocturnal herbivore, and is considerably larger than its relatives. It is coloured grey-brown with golden tips and an orange circle around its eye, from which it gets its name.[5] It builds its nests among the tough vegetation. When disturbed it hops off in a zigzag manner. The young are produced singly at any time of the year and become sexually mature at about a year old.[6]

Naming and taxonomy[edit]

Plate 59 of Mammals of Australia Vol. II

The species was first described by John Gould, naming this hare-wallaby as Lagorchestes conspicillata, and provided an illustration that was included in The Mammals of Australia (Volume II) as plate 59.[7] A separate description, Lagorchestes leichardti, was included in the same work as Pl. 58.[8] This is now regarded as a subpopulation of the same species, which is sometimes described as a subspecies. Lumholtz refers to this animal as a kangaroo-rat,[9] although that term is now the common name for species of a North American rodent genus.

Threat and status[edit]

The species was reviewed on the Red List (2008) as having the conservation status least concern. The subspecies L. conspicillatus conspicillatus is restricted to Barrow Island, Western Australia, but was once found throughout the Montebello Islands. Predation by introduced species and development on the island have led to a vulnerable status. L. conspicillatus leichardti, the mainland subspecies, was once regarded as a near-threatened status. The population of the species is in decline, largely due to reduction of habitat through land clearing. Concern also exists regarding the disappearance from arid parts of its far northern range. Reintroduction to former habitats has been proposed, following the related Western Shield projects.[3][10]

Fossil record[edit]

A spectacled hare-wallaby fossil was discovered in Queensland dating up to 11,000 years ago from the early Holocene.[2]


  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. 63. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b The Paleobiology Database
  3. ^ a b c Winter, J.; Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A. (2008). "Lagorchestes conspicillatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
  4. ^ Hitchcock, G. 1997 "First record of the Spectacled Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes conspicillatus (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) in New Guinea". Science in New Guinea 23(1): 47–51.
  5. ^ Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 108.
  6. ^ Whitfield, Philip (1998). The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Animals. New York: Marshall Editions Development Limited. p. 28.
  7. ^ "Lagorchestes leichardti". Australian Mammal Gould Print Images. Museum Victoria. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Lagorchestes conspicillata". Australian Mammal Gould Print Images. Museum Australia (archived). Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
  9. ^ Lumholtz, Carl (1889). Among cannibals; an account of four years' travels in Australia and of camp life with the aborigines of Queensland. p. 29.
  10. ^ Burbidge, Andrew A (2004). "4. Mammals". Threatened animals of Western Australia. Department of Conservation and Land Management. p. 64. ISBN 0-7307-5549-5. Vulnerable. 'Montebello Renewal', a Western Shield project, is eradicating feral cats and rats ...

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