|Distribution of the yellow-footed antechinus|
The yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes), also known as the mardo, is a shrew-like marsupial found in Australia. One notable feature of the species is its sexual behavior. The male yellow-footed antechinus engages in such frenzied mating that its immune system becomes compromised, resulting in stress related death before it is one year old.
The yellow-footed antechinus was described in 1838 by George Robert Waterhouse, who noted its most distinctive feature in its species name flavipes, which means "yellow-footed". The species has occasionally been combined with the brown antechinus (A. stuartii).
Three subspecies of the yellow-footed antechinus are recognised:
- A. f. flavipes, found in southeastern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia
- A. f. leucogaster, found in southwestern Western Australia
- A. f. rubeculus, found in northeastern Queensland
The yellow-footed antechinus has a variable fur colour, but is generally somewhat greyish. Other notable features include a white eye-ring and a black tip to the tail. It has a pointed muzzle and short, broad feet of buff to yellow-brown color, hence the name. It has short hair and a moderately long tail. In size and body shape this species is fairly typical of its genus. Head and body length about 10–13 cm (4–5 in); weight about 30 g (1.1 oz).
The yellow-footed antechinus differs from its relatives in its comparatively diurnal habits. The mating season lasts for two weeks either in August, for southern animals; in October, for animals from southern Queensland; or in June–July, for north Queensland animals. The diet is invertebrates, eggs, nectar and sometimes small vertebrates.
Distribution and habitat
The yellow-footed antechinus is found discontinuously from around the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia to around Eungella in Queensland, with the exception of most of coastal New South Wales and Victoria. Isolated populations occur in northeastern Queensland and in southwestern Western Australia. Some populations are listed as "locally common", others as uncertain.
The yellow-footed antechinus occupies a variety of habitats, including dry arid scrubland and sclerophyll forest. In the north, it also inhabits coastal heaths, swamps and woodland; in the far north it is found in tropical vine forest.
- 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.
- Menkhorst, P.; Friend, T.; Burnett, S. & McKenzie, N. (2008). "Antechinus flavipes". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
- Van Dyck, S.M. (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. 54. ISBN 0-19-550870-X.
- Ellis, M.V. and Smith, J.M. (1990). Inland occurrences of the Yellow-footed Antechinus Antechinus flavipes (Waterhouse, 1838) in New South Wales. Australian Zoologist. 26:21-22.
- The mardo discussed on RadioNZ Critter of the Week, 10 February 2017