Lagostrophus fasciatusbanded hare-wallaby

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Geographic Range

Lagostrophus fasciatus is found only on Dorre Island and Bernier Island in Shark Bay, 50-60 km west of the Australian mainland. On Dorre Island, the population is concentrated in the north, while on Bernier Island it is further south. The population on Dorre Island is less dense than Bernier Island. Historically, members of this species also lived on the mainland of southwestern Australia. The last recorded individual on the mainland was seen in 1906. Fossils of L. fasciatus have been found on Dirk Hartog Island, south of their current location. Current attempts are underway to reintroduce this species to the western Australian mainland. Attempts to re-introduce L. fasciatus to Dirk Hartog island failed, possibly as a result of predation by feral cats. (Friend and Beecham, 2004; Helgen and Flannery, 2003; Menkhorst, 2001; Prince, 1983; Richards, et al., 2001; Short and Turner, 1992; Tyndale-Biscoe, 1965)

Habitat

Lagostrophus fasciatus usually lives in woodlands with thick, dense shrubs, which it uses for shelter during the day. Many of the shrubs are of the species Acacia ligulata. Additionally, banded hare-wallabies form runs under the shrubs. The islands on which they live are of a Mediterranean climate, warm with moderate rainfall and distinct wet and dry seasons. (Prince, 1983; Short and Turner, 1992)

Physical Description

The head-body length of Lagostrophus fasciatus is usually 400-450 mm. Tail length ranges from 350-400 mm, and tail diameter from 13-21 mm. The distance from the knee to the foot on the hind limb ranges from 96-146 mm and the pes length from 94-121 mm. The weight varies from 1.3-3 kg, although most specimens weigh under 2 kg. The fur is thick, shaggy, long, and gray with a few yellow and silver splotches. Lagostrophus fasciatus is marked by transverse black stripes along the lower back. Ventrally the fur has a grayish-white color. The face is gray and the flanks have a reddish tint. The snouts are normally hairless and short. Canines are absent. The sexes are not dimorphic in color or size. The fifth metatarsal is partially ventral to the fourth and is cylindrical in shape. The metabolic rate is unknown. Two subspecies exist: Lagostrophus fasciatus fasciatus and Lagostrophus fasciatus baudinettei. The latter is more reddish in color with less pronounced stripes and a bigger hair crest on the head. It may also have a shorter tail. (Flannery, 1983; Helgen and Flannery, 2003; Menkhorst, 2001; Prince, 1983; Richards, et al., 2001)

The skull of this species has interorbital ridges that are almost parallel, a moderately large zygomatic arch, and a mandibular condyle that is lengthened transversely. On the upper jaw, the first incisor is larger than the third incisor, which is larger than the second incisor. The lower incisors line up below the upper incisors instead of lying behind the upper incisors. The crown of the first upper incisor is not completely surrounded by enamel. Additionally, the second and third upper premolars are L-shaped. The lower premolars have a broad anterior cingulum. (Flannery, 1983; Helgen and Flannery, 2003)

Male scrotal width for Lagostrophus fasciatus ranges from 13-31 mm. (Richards, et al., 2001; Tyndale-Biscoe, 1965)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    1.3 to 3 kg
    2.86 to 6.61 lb
  • Range length
    350 to 400 mm
    13.78 to 15.75 in

Reproduction

The number of partners and size groups formed by Lagostrophus fasciatus in mating are unknown. Methods for finding, attracting, and defending mates are unknown as well.

Breeding females normally conceive one offspring at a time. Breeding is seasonal, beginning in the summer and peaking in autumn. However, breeding seasons are extended and may occur from February through August. Drought may change breeding patterns by delaying breeding. While most females produce only one offspring per year, some produce two. Breeding can occur as early as the end of a female’s first year and the beginning of a male’s second year. However, most individuals do not mate until the age of two. The time of weaning is normally three months. Offspring are independent after nine to ten months. The gestation period is unknown. A female gives birth and may mate immediately afterwards. The blastocyst from the second mating then undergoes a period of quiescence until the nursing young is weaned (embryonic diapause). (Prince, 1983; Richards, et al., 2001)

  • Breeding interval
    Lagostophus fasciatus usually breeds once a year.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding peaks in the fall.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Average number of offspring
    1
    AnAge
  • Average weaning age
    3 months
  • Range time to independence
    9 to 10 months
  • Average time to independence
    9 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    1 (low) years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    2 years
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    2 (low) years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    2 years

Female Lagostrophus fasciatus keep offspring in their pouch for six months. Normally, the mother carries one young in the pouch at a time. (Menkhorst, 2001; Prince, 1983; Richards, et al., 2001; Tyndale-Biscoe, 1965)

  • Parental Investment
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

Lagostrophus fasciatus can live up to six years. (Richards, et al., 2001)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: wild
    6 (high) years
  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    5 to 6 years

Behavior

Individuals typically seek shelter in small groups during the day and are nocturnal, foraging for food at night. Males are aggressive with each other, competing for food. However, adults of different sexes and adult females with juveniles show no aggressive behavior toward each other. (Menkhorst, 2001; Prince, 1983; Short and Turner, 1992)

Home Range

The home range is unknown.

Communication and Perception

Banded hare wallabies, like other kangaroos and wallabies, use their keen vision and senses of smell, touch, and hearing to perceive their environment. Communication between conspecifics is poorly understood, but it is likely that they use chemical and visual cues.

Food Habits

Banded hare wallabies mainly browse or occasionally graze on foliage and grasses. Individuals accumulate in areas with high densities of Acacia ligulata, A. coriacea, Heterodendrum oleifolium, and Diplolaena dampieri, using them as the main sources of food. They are also sometimes found grazing in Triodia grasslands. For hydration, individuals use dew and water from their food. (Menkhorst, 2001; Prince, 1983; Short and Turner, 1992; Menkhorst, 2001; Prince, 1983; Short and Turner, 1992)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • wood, bark, or stems
  • flowers

Predation

Wedge-tailed eagles (Aquila audax) and other raptors are known predators of Lagostrophus fasciatus. Red foxes probably preyed on this species when it occurred on the Australian mainland. Feral cats (Felis silvestris may also prey on these small wallabies. Slow breeding and spending time in open areas during the day makes these wallabies especially vulnerable to predation. (Friend and Beecham, 2004; Short and Turner, 1992)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

This species is an herbivore that may impact its communities by grazing and browsing. Competition between banded hare wallabies and similar rufous hare-wallabies (Lagorchestes hirsutus) is low due to different habitat preferences and differences in skull and teeth. (Short and Turner, 1992)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Banded hare wallabies currently live on uninhabited islands, so they have little interaction with humans. (Short and Turner, 1992)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Banded hare wallabies currently live on uninhabited islands, so they have little interaction with humans. (Short and Turner, 1992)

Conservation Status

Lagostrophus fasciatus is considered vulnerable by ANZECC and the IUCN. Human clearing of land for agriculture, competition with introduced sheep and rabbits, and predation by introduced predators are likely to have caused extinction on the Australian mainland. (Richards, et al., 2001)

Contributors

Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Khalil Chedid (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor, instructor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Australian

Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

altricial

young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

cryptic

having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.

embryonic diapause

At about the time a female gives birth (e.g. in most kangaroo species), she also becomes receptive and mates. Embryos produced at this mating develop only as far as a hollow ball of cells (the blastocyst) and then become quiescent, entering a state of suspended animation or embryonic diapause. The hormonal signal (prolactin) which blocks further development of the blastocyst is produced in response to the sucking stimulus from the young in the pouch. When sucking decreases as the young begins to eat other food and to leave the pouch, or if the young is lost from the pouch, the quiescent blastocyst resumes development, the embryo is born, and the cycle begins again. (Macdonald 1984)

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

folivore

an animal that mainly eats leaves.

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

saltatorial

specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sedentary

remains in the same area

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

social

associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

temperate

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

References

Flannery, T. 1983. Revision in the macropodid subfamily Sthenurinae (Marsupialia: Macropodoidea) and the relationships of the species of Troposodon and Lagostrophus.. Australian Mammalogy, 6: 15-28.

Friend, T., B. Beecham. 2004. Return to Dryandra: Western Shield. Conservation Science Western Australia, 5: 174-193.

Helgen, K., T. Flannery. 2003. Taxonomy and hisorical distribution of the wallaby genus Lagostrophus . Australian Journal of Zoology, 51: 199-212.

Menkhorst, P. 2001. A Filed Guide to the Mammals of Australia. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Prince, R. 1983. Banded Hare-Wallaby. Pp. 201-202 in R Strahan, ed. The Australian Museum complete book of Australian mammals: the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife. London: Angus and Robertson.

Richards, J., J. Short, R. Prince, J. Friend, J. Courtenay. 2001. The biology of banded (Lagostrophus fasciatus) and rufous (Lagorchestes hirsutus) hare-wallabies (Diprotodontia: Macropodidae) on Dorre and Bernier Islands, Western Australia. Wildlife Research, 28: 311-322.

Short, J., B. Turner. 1992. The distribution and abundance of the banded and rufous hare-wallabies Lagostrophus fasciatus and Lagorchestes hirstus . Biological Conservation, 60: 157-166.

Tyndale-Biscoe, C. 1965. The Female Urogenital System and Reproduction of the Marsupial Lagostrophus fasciatus . Australian Journal of Zoology, 13: 255-267.