Planigale tenuirostrisnarrow-nosed planigale

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Geographic Range

Planigale tenuirostris occupies inland SE Australia. (Painter et al, 1995)

Habitat

P. tenuirostris lives in low shrubland and tussock grassland with cracking clay soils. It lives in the deepest realms of the soil cavities and occasionally emerges at the surface . (Moss, 1988) Preferred habit is away from water in more open, less densely vegetated areas. (Read, 1987)

Physical Description

P. tenuirostris is a rodent-like marsupial. It is small when compared to other Planigale spp. It has a flat skull that can be used for shoveling (Painter et al, 1995). The fur is brownish, but breeding males have fur discoloration (Read, 1987).

  • Range mass
    4 to 9 g
    0.14 to 0.32 oz
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    0.063 W
    AnAge

Reproduction

The female P. tenuirostris has 12 teats and a pouch. Estrus in females lasts 1 day and the estrus cycle is 33 days. In males, spermatogenesis occurs in July and aspermatogenesis occurs the following March. The breeding season coincides with increases in food availability during the spring and summer. (Read, 1984)

  • Breeding season
    July to mid-January
  • Average number of offspring
    6
  • Average number of offspring
    6
    AnAge
  • Average gestation period
    19 days
  • Average gestation period
    19 days
    AnAge
  • Average weaning age
    95 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    240 days
    AnAge

Young P. tenuirostris detach from the teats at 36 days. The eyes open at 51 days. and weaning occurs at 95 days after birth. (Read, 1985)

Lifespan/Longevity

It has been estimated that less than 15% of individuals in wild populations survive to an age of 2 years (Read, 1995).

  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    3 (high) years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    5.2 years
    AnAge

Behavior

P. tenuirostris is nocturnal in both summer and winter (unlike other Planigale spp. that are diurnal in winter). Short-term activity cycles were recorded as 1 hr 25 min in summer and 2 hr 56 min in winter. A significant amount of time is spent both deep in the soil cavities and above ground. (Read, 1989)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

P. tenuirostris is a generalist insectivore; their diet reflects the available prey. Arthropods eaten include Coleoptera (beetles) and Araneidae (orbweavers), taxa not bigger than 800 cu mm. They may also eat small lizards. (Read, 1987)

  • Animal Foods
  • reptiles
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Predation

Becaue P. tenuirostris spends so much time below the ground (where no larger species coud fit), it is well protected from predators. (Moss, 1988)

Ecosystem Roles

P. tenuirostris lives in sympatry with P. gilesi and the two appear to partitioning food resources. This is partly due to body size differences (P. gilesi is larger than P. tenuirostris). Also, partitioning occurs due to the fact that P. tenuirostris lives in the deepest parts of the cavities, while P. gilesi lives at intermediate crack depths. (Read, 1987)

Conservation Status

P. tenuirostris is fairly uncommon. (Read, 1987)

Contributors

Bradley Reuter (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Bret Weinstein (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Australian

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

World Map

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.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

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.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

insectivore

An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body

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

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sexual

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

solitary

lives alone

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).

viviparous

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

References

Moss, G., D. Croft. 1988. Behavioral mechanisms of microhabitat selection and competition among three species of arid zone Dasyurid marsupial. Australian Journal of Ecology, 13(4): 485-494.

Painter, J., C. Krajewski, M. Westerman. 1995. Molecular phylogeny of the marsupial genus Planigale (Dasyuridae). Journal of Mammalogy, 76(2): 406-413.

Read, D. 1995. Narrow-nosed Planigale, *Planigale tenuirostris*. Pp. 113-115 in R Strahan, ed. Mammals of Australia. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Read, D. 1985. Development and growth of Planigale tenuirostris Marsupialia Dasyuridae in the laboratory. Australian Mammalogy, 8(1-2): 69-78.

Read, D. 1987. Diets of sympatric Planigale gilesi and Planigale tenuirostris Marsupialia Dasyuridae relationships of season and body size. Australian Mammalogy, 10(1-2): 11-22.

Read, D. 1987. Habitat use by Sminthropsis crassicaudata, Planigale gilesi and Planigale tenuirostris Marsupialia Dasyuridae in semiarid New South Wales, Australia. Australian Wildlife Research, 14(4): 385-396.

Read, D. 1989. Microhabitat separation and diel activity patterns of Planigale gilesi and Planigale tenuirostris Marsupialia Dasyuridae. Australian Mammalogy, 12(1-2): 45-54.

Read, D. 1984. Reproduction and breeding season of Planigale gilesi and Planigale tenuirostris Marsupialia Dasyuridae. Australian Mammalogy, 7(3-4): 161-174.