|Antechinus minimus from Tasmania. Stuffed specimen|
(É. Geoffroy, 1803)
|Swamp antechinus range|
The swamp antechinus (Antechinus minimus), also known as the little Tasmanian marsupial mouse, is a species of shrew-like marsupial of the family Dasyuridae and as such is related to dunnarts, quolls and the Tasmanian devil.
The swamp antechinus was first described in 1803 (the first of all the antechinuses) by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, who placed it in the genus Dasyurus (quolls), hence its species name minimus, which means "smallest".
There are two recognised subspecies of the Swamp Antechinus:
- A. m. minimus, found in Tasmania and Bass Strait;
- A. m. maritimus, found on the mainland; this subspecies is declining and is classed as near threatened.
Habitat and distribution
The area inhabited by the subspecies A. m. maritimus is in the south of the central highlands, wimmera and Alpine areas of Victoria and the extreme south of South Australia around Mount Gambier. For the nominate subspecies A. m. minimus, the range is Tasmania, including Sunday Island King Island and Flinders Island.
The species is nocturnal and partly diurnal or active at night and daytime, whether it is crepuscular is not known. The species breeds during May–July and gives birth in July–August after 28–32 days gestation to 6–8 joeys. In the inland areas, mating occurs one month earlier, but the reason is not known. Few females survive a second year and all males do not live long past the mating period (Wilson etal. 1986.).
- 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. pp. 29–30. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
- van Weenen, J. & Menkhorst, P. (2008). "Antechinus minimus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
- Wainer, J.W.; Wilson, B.A. (1995). "Yellow-footed Antechinus". In Strahan, Ronald. The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books. pp. 86–88. ISBN 0-7301-0484-2.
- Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-19-550870-X.
- Menkhorst, Peter (1996). Mammals of Victoria. Oxford University Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-19-553733-5.