Western quoll

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Western quoll[1]
Chuditch at Caversham Wildlife Park.png
A western quoll at Caversham Wildlife Park, Western Australia.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Dasyuromorphia
Family: Dasyuridae
Genus: Dasyurus
Species: D. geoffroii
Binomial name
Dasyurus geoffroii
Gould, 1841
Western Quoll Range.JPG
Western Quoll range

The western quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii) is also known as the chuditch (especially Western Australia, from Noongar djooditj[3]), atyelpe or chilpa (from Arrernte[4]), kuninka (from Western Desert language[5]), idnya (by the Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders Ranges[6]) and western native cat. It is a medium-sized predator and has a white-spotted brown coat and a long tail like its eastern and northern relatives. It differs from the closely related eastern quoll in possessing a first toe on the hind foot and a darker tail. It is classed as a near-threatened Australian dasyuromorph, whose distribution is now confined to south-western Western Australia.

Description[edit]

The western quoll is a medium-sized quoll coloured a rufous brown on its upper parts with white spots and a creamy white below. It has five toes on its hind feet and granular pads.[7]

The western quoll is a solitary, nocturnal predator which is mostly terrestrial, although it does climb trees. It has a diet of small vertebrates, carrion, arthropods, and freshwater crayfish, among other things. The breeding season is from April to July.[8]

The head and body average about 330 mm in length, with the tail averaging another 280 mm. An individual can weigh up to 2 kg, with males being slightly heavier.[9]

Behaviour[edit]

The western quoll moves swiftly on the ground, climbs efficiently, and may dig or occupy existing holes in the ground. Activity is greatest around dusk and dawn with the animal being crepuscular.

Habitat[edit]

The western quoll was formerly found throughout most of inland Australia, reaching areas of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. It is now restricted to the south-western corner of Western Australia, where it inhabits wet and dry sclerophyll forests and mallee.[8]

In April 2014 a 5 year trial re-introduction of western quoll to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia began.[6] Despite the loss of about a third of the first release, mostly by feral cats; most of the surviving females bred and produced around 60 young. As of February 2015 a second batch of releases is planned.[10]

Taxonomy[edit]

The western quoll was described by John Gould in 1841, when it was still widespread throughout the continent. Its species name, geoffroii, refers to the prominent French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, who named the genus Dasyurus in 1796. The species has sometimes been placed in the genus Dasyurinus.[7]

The western quoll is a member of the family Dasyuridae and is most closely related to the bronze quoll (Dasyurus spartacus), a recently described species from New Guinea that was for some time believed to be an outlying population of the western quoll.

Popular culture[edit]

The Switch The Future campaign to reduce electricity use in Western Australia features a computer-generated chuditch called Sparky running in a hamster wheel dynamo.[11]

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. 25. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ Morris, K., Burbidge, A. & Hamilton, S. (2008). Dasyurus geoffroii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as near threatened
  3. ^ Rooney, Bernard (2011). Nyoongar Dictionary. Batchelor Press. p. 20. ISBN 9781741312331. 
  4. ^ Henderson, John; Henderson, Veronica (1994). Eastern and Central Arrernte to English Dictionary. IAD Press. p. 326. ISBN 0949659746. 
  5. ^ Goddard, Cliff (1996). Pitjantjatjara/Yakunytjatjara to English Dictionary. IAD Press. p. 48. ISBN 0949659916. 
  6. ^ a b Staight, Kerry (26 April 2014). "Helping Hand". Landline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Serena, M.; Soderquist, T. (1995). "Western Quoll". In Strahan, Ronald. The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books. pp. 62–64. 
  8. ^ a b Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 48. 
  9. ^ "Chudditch (Western Quoll) (Dasyurus geoffroyi)". australianfauna.com. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  10. ^ Staight, Kerry (7 February 2015). "More rare western quolls to be released in SA after successful start to reintroduction project". ABC News online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "About the Chuditch". switchthefuture.com.au. Retrieved 2012-07-29.