Julia Creek Dunnart

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Endangered

Description

The Julia Creek Dunnart is a small carnivorous nocturnal marsupial. It is the largest of the 19 species of Sminthopsis found in Australia. The species has a body that is 13.5 cm long, a tail 12–13 cm long and weighs up to 70 g (Strahan 1998). The species can store food in its tail as fat, and individuals will have a swollen base to their tail when food is abundant (QPWS 2005).

The Julia Creek Dunnart is sandy brown in colour, speckled with grey above and almost white below. The face has reddish-brown hair on the cheeks and at the base of the ears. A darker face stripe runs from behind the nose to the top of the head and there is a fine ring of darker hair around the eyes (QPWS 2005).

Habitat

The Julia Creek Dunnart occurs in the Mitchell Grasslands, which are characterised by heavy clay soils (cracking clay) of two types (ashy and stony) dominated by grass (Mitchell Grass (Astrebla spp.) and Flinders Grass (Iseilema spp.)). Following rain, which generally occurs in summer, the clay soil swells and there is flush of vegetative growth. As the soil dries, it contracts and forms deep cracks (Qld DERM 2009d). The species utilises cracks in the ground as habitat when the soil is dry and ground cover is sparse. They use vegetation cover when the cracks and holes close up after rain (Mifsud 1999).

References

Potential habitat of the Julia Creek Dunnart

Potential habitat of the Julia Creek Dunnart (Qld Government)

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