This species occurs in the extreme southern portions of Queensland, Australia.
Fat-tailed dunnarts typically have a head and body length of 64- 110 mm, and a tail length of 51-12 mm. They range from buffy to brownish in color, and have dark patches on their ears and head.
This species is polyestrus. Females may breed and raise litters continuously for up to six months if environmental conditions are favorable. Nearly all of the breeding in this species occurs between July and February. Gestation ranges from 13 to 16 days, and litters of up to ten young may be produced. The young first protrude from their mother's pouch at the age of 37 days. They disperse from their natal range when they are 65-69 days old. Females attain sexual maturity more quickly than males. They are capable of becoming pregnant when they are 155 days old. Males, however, are not capable of breeding until they are 159 days old.
- Key Reproductive Features
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Fat-tailed dunnarts are nocturnal and appear to live in small groups. Although little is known about their social system in the wild, captive study has shown that females are not receptive to the presence of males after they have given birth to a litter. Males housed with females who have litters are often killed by the females. This suggests that females with young may be territorial and solitary in the wild. Fattailed dunarts, like many marsupials, have poorly developed thermoregulatory abilities. In the colder months, they may enter into a thermoregulatory mutualism with Mus musculus. Huddling together for warmth, both species are able to reduce their energetic costs. Mixed species aggregations are common during the winter, and there is a low incidence of natural torpor.
- Key Behaviors
Communication and Perception
The fat-tailed dunnart eats a variety of grasshoppers, moths, and beetles.
Nancy Shefferly (author), Animal Diversity Web.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
- 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.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
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.
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.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Collins, L.R. 1973. Monotremes and Marsupials. Smithsonian Institution Press.
Nowak, R.M. and J.L. Paradiso. 1983. Walker's Mammals of the World, Fourth Edition. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, London.