Peroryctes raffrayanaRaffray's bandicoot

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Geographic Range

Perorctyes raffrayana is widespread throughout the island of New Guinea.

Habitat

Peroryctes raffrayana usually inhabit undisturbed rainforest and are commonly found in a range of elevations from 850-1200 m. They also sometimes are found in higher and lower areas, with the exceptions of the woodlands and savannah of southern New Guinea and extreme low-lying areas (Flannery, 1996).

Physical Description

Raffray's Bandicoots have an unpatterned, medium to dark brown coat and coarse fur. They are approximately 30 cm in length. Their snout is long and narrow, and they have insectivore-like dentition, small ears, and a long non-prehensile tail. The hindfoot is highly specialized and elongated for running and hopping, with reduction in the number of digits in both the forefoot and hindfoot (Vaughan, 1986). Peroryctes raffrayana can be distinguished from other species of bandicoots by their smaller size, darker coloration, and lack of a white tail tip (Flannery, 1996).

  • Range mass
    0.65 to 1 kg
    1.43 to 2.20 lb

Reproduction

Raffray's Bandicoots have a short gestation period (about 15 days), and their young mature rapidly, nursing for approximately 60 days. A true chorioallantoic placenta develops, as in all Peramelidae (Vaughan, 1986). Peroryctes raffrayana are polyestrous, and usually have a litter of between one and six young. Young Raffray's Bandicoots forage with their mothers for a few nights after weaning, then separate to lead a solitary life (Stonehouse, 1977).

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
    3
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    90 days
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    150 days
    AnAge

Lifespan/Longevity

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: captivity
    3 (low) years
    AnAge
  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    3.2 (high) years
    AnAge

Behavior

Most P. raffrayana build ground nests of twigs, grass, and debris, often in thick vegetation. Although most animals of the order Peramelemorphia are territorial and solitary except during breeding seasons, female Raffray's Bandicoots have been observed nesting communally. Males range widely over areas inhabited by several females. There is no association between the sexes until periods of estrus (Stonehouse, 1977). P. raffrayana rarely ventures into new forest or regrowth areas. They are creposcular, with most feeding taking place between 7 and 9 p.m. (Flannery, 1996).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Peroryctes raffrayana is largely insectivorous and omnivorous, sometimes eating small vertebrates, invertebrates, and vegetation. Mianmin hunters observe that the fruiting fig Amomeam is a favored food(Flannery, 1996).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Raffray's Bandicoots are hunted and eaten by the natives of New Guinea (Lawlor, 1979).

Conservation Status

Populations of P. raffrayana are secure. One subspecies, Peroryctes raffrayana rothschildi, has been identified in the Huon Peninsula of New Guinea (Flannery, 1996).

Other Comments

Raffray's bandicoots have a distinct odor similar to aged cheddar cheese. The life expectancy of P. raffrayana is approximately 2.5-3.5 years (Flannery, 1996).

Contributors

Karen Kennedy (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

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

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.

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

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

oceanic islands

islands that are not part of continental shelf areas, they are not, and have never been, connected to a continental land mass, most typically these are volcanic islands.

sexual

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

tactile

uses touch to communicate

References

Flannery, T. 1996. Mammals of New Guinea. Robert Brown and Associates Ptn. Ltd.: Carina Qld, Australia.

Lawlor, T. 1979. Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals. Mad River Press: Eureka, California.

Stonehouse, B., ed.; Gilmore, D., ed. 1977. The Biology of Maruspials. University Park Press: Baltimore.

Vaughan, T. 1986. Mammalogy. Saunders College Publishing.