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Sminthopsis leucopus

2 White-footed Dunnart at Black Range, NSW

4 images

Sminthopsis leucopus at Black Range, NSW - 21 Jan 2016
Sminthopsis leucopus at Black Range, NSW - 21 Jan 2016
Sminthopsis leucopus at Black Range, NSW - 21 Jan 2016
Sminthopsis leucopus at Black Range, NSW - 21 Jan 2016

Identification history

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Significant sighting

18 May 2020

A rare and threatened species, seldom detected.

Author's notes

This White-footed Dunnart was found under a board I lifted not far beyond the end of Black Range Rd, where the road becomes a rough track. It quickly dashed away, but not before I was able to get these images.

13 comments

   16 May 2020
Hi Andrew, Nice photos. Looking in my mammals field guide I find that agile antechinus is also shown as having a bit of dark stripe down the face and pale feet, so I don't feel competent to confirm this. I'll ask some contacts in NPWS/DPIE who should know the difference to have a look. Jackie
   16 May 2020
Thanks Jackie. Given this small mammal is rarely seen, I fully agree that we should get further expert input for identification. Compared to the Agile Antechinus, the White-footed Dunnart has much larger protruding eyes and bigger ears in proportion to the head size, and the ears are more erect with a narrower space between them. These distinguishing features showed up clearly on motion sensing camera images I got of both species at Providence Ponds in Gippsland, Victoria, while participating in a mammal survey (citizen science project) there. The two species were also captured in cage traps and photographed to enable close examination of their identifying features.
   16 May 2020
Hmm, subtle. I have one photo of each species (the Dunnart caught in a pitfall trap at Boydtown years ago) and comparing those the facial stripe is obvious on the Dunnart and not apparent at all on the antechinus. I can see the narrower space between the ears but there's not much in it with the eye bulge business and ear size. Better wait on the experts, if they care to have a go.
   18 May 2020
My DPIE contact says she'd like to have seen the tail, but is reasonably confident this is a Dunnart. Congratulations on a pretty good photo of a rare and threatened species.
   18 May 2020
I'll try and remember to make this a significant sighting once that becomes possible again after all the system changes.
   18 May 2020
I have looked through all six images of this dunnart before it bolted, and have found another image which shows the tail more clearly but still not in full focus. Would you like me to send you this one?
I have a number of images of small dasyurids taken by motion sensing cameras on our block. Unfortunately they are too far away from he camera to determine the species. Having already seen this animal, I suspect one or two could be dunnarts.
   18 May 2020
Hi Andrew, If you click on the edit button up the top of the sighting it should let you add another image to this sighting. The more the better as a general rule (limit is 5).
   18 May 2020
Hi Jackie, thanks for that. Being new to this website I am still finding my way around. The additional image is now uploaded.
   18 May 2020
Wow, those really are bulging eyes, aren't they? New image doesn't show much more of the tail than the others, so I'll pass on hassling my contact with it. Will try again with "significant sighting" button.
   19 May 2020
I have added an image I referred to in an earlier comment above of a White-footed Dunnart (confirmed by experts) taken on my motion sensing camera at Providence Ponds Flora and Fauna Reserve in Gippsland, Victoria. It shows those big eyes when the dunnart looks directly at the camera and other diagnostic features such as the large erect ears, that distinguish this species from the Agile Antechinus that is common in this area.
   20 May 2020
The ears certainly look erect in the nocturnal photo, but less so in your recent shots. Presumably they can raise and lower them so it doesn't seem like a feature you could rely on. I imagine it would be possible to get one's eye in for the differences with enough experience.
   21 May 2020
Jackie, from my experience with trapping and handling antechinus and dunnart, both raise and lower their ears. When caught and presumably stressed with fear they lower their ears possibly as a defensive posture. Wild and free animals captured on our motion sensing cameras are always found to have their ears up to stay alert for food or danger.
   21 May 2020
OK, I guess that explains why the individual you'd just uncovered has its flattened.

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Nearby sightings

Page 1 of 1 pages - image sightings only 9 0 9

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Accipiter novaehollandiae (Grey Goshawk) at Black Range, NSW - 22 Sep 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Varanus varius (Lace Monitor) at Black Range, NSW - 12 Sep 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Ptilonorhynchus violaceus (Satin Bowerbird) at Black Range, NSW - 7 Sep 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Pomaderris cinerea (Grey Pomaderris) at Black Range, NSW - 4 Aug 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Cormobates leucophaea (White-throated Treecreeper) at Black Range, NSW - 3 Aug 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Colluricincla harmonica (Grey Shrike-thrush) at Black Range, NSW - 31 Jul 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Oriolus sagittatus (Olive-backed Oriole) at Black Range, NSW - 31 Jul 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Aquila audax (Wedge-tailed Eagle) at Black Range, NSW - 25 Apr 2020 by MatthewHiggins
Vombatus ursinus (Bare-nosed Wombat) at Black Range, NSW - 2 Sep 2019 by MatthewHiggins

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Location information

Species information

  • Not Sensitive
  • Very Rare / Threatened
  • Non-Invasive

Sighting information

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