Lagorchestes conspicillatusspectacled hare-wallaby

Geographic Range

Spectacled hare-wallabies (Lagorchestes conspicillatus) are found in northern Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory (Crew, 2014). Spectacled hare-wallabies are also found in Queensland (Crew, 2014). A subspecies of L. conspicillatus are found in New Guinea and Barrow Island (Crew, 2014). Additionally, the range of L. conspicillatus includes some island nations in the Indian Ocean, although the literature does not name specific islands (Gould, 1841b). (Crew, 2014; Gould, 1841a)


Spectacled hare-wallabies are found in forests, woodlands, and arid grasslands. Here, water is scarce, and temperatures are very high, sometimes over 40°C (Crew, 2014). They do not require much green grass as long as there is at least some herbaceous cover in the surrounding environment. The spectacled hare-wallabies favor herbs over most other food items, except some seeds. They also prefer areas with shrubs, grass tussocks, or spinifex hummocks (coastal grass) for shelter (Ingelby and Westoby, 1992). Specifically, they use large grass tussocks for shelter from predators and the extreme heat (AAP, 2014). No information on elevation is reported in the literature. (Australian Associated Press, 2014; Crew, 2014; Ingleby and Westoby, 1992)

Physical Description

Spectacled hare-wallabies are small mammals that have grey-brown fur with golden tips. They have orange circles around its dark eyes. There are sub-species, but the literature does not provide information on the description of the sub-species. These mammals are close relatives of kangaroos, wallabies, tree kangaroos, and pademelons (Crew, 2014). There are no detailed or formal descriptions of the mass, length, or differences in appearances between sexes (Gould, 1842). (Crew, 2014; Gould, 1842)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike


Spectacled hare-wallabies produce one offspring per year at any time (Gould, 1842) (Johnson, 1993). There is limited information on the mating systems of the spectacled hare-wallabies. However, there is information known about a sister species, L. hirsutus. When two L. hirsutus meet, a male will inspect the female and if she is responsive, she will accept mating. If she is unresponsive, she will kick the male or move away (Lundie-Jenkens, 1993b; McLean, et al., 1993). (Gould, 1842; Johnson, 1993; Lundie-Jenkins, 1993a; McLean, et al., 1993)

Spectacled hare-wallabies become sexually mature at one year of age (Gould, 1842). Females begin breeding at one year old, while males begin to breed when they are slightly older. No specific age is given for the males. This species is viviparous (Gould, 1841b). The estrous cycle, the period in a female's sexual cycle when they are ready to mate, lasts 30 days. The gestation period lasts 29-31 days, and there is an average pouch life that is 152 days (Johnson, 1993) (Encylopaedia Britannica, 2021). The weaning age average is 204 days (Gould, 1841b). (Gould, 1841b; Gould, 1841a; Gould, 1842; Johnson, 1993)

  • Breeding interval
    Lagorchestes conspicillatus breed once a year.
  • Breeding season
    Lagorchestes conspicillatus mate once a year at any time of the year.
  • Range number of offspring
    0 to 1
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average gestation period
    29-31 days
  • Average weaning age
    204 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    1 years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    1 years

In this species, the young are often seen with their mothers during the day and night in the wild and are known to follow their mother (Fisher, Blomberg, and Owens, 2002). However, there is not a lot else known about parental investment. (Fisher, et al., 2002)


There are no detailed or formal descriptions of the lifespan of L. conspicillatus or what limits lifespan. However, we do know that the average lifespan of a spectacled hare-wallaby in the wild is about 72 months, or 6 years (Gould, 1841a). In captivity, the maximum lifespan is 8.8 years (Gould, 1842). (Gould, 1841b; Gould, 1842)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    72 months
  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    8.8 (high) years


Spectacled hare-wallabies do not drink water because the places they live do not have much water. Instead, they obtain water from the vegetation that they eat. To get rid of their nitrogenous waste, they make extremely concentrated urine to prevent dehydration (Crew, 2014). Spectacled hare-wallabies are nocturnal and hide during the day in their tall nests made from spinifex, a coastal grass found in Australia, or porcupine grass (Crew, 2014). The nests are made amongst the vegetation (Gould, 1842). Spectacled hare-wallabies rely on their behavior to prevent water loss. The environments they inhabit are extremely hot, so they use controlled hyperthermia and evaporative cooling to prevent heat stress (Dawson et al., 1978). In evaporative cooling, L. conspicillatus increase panting to rates over 400 cycles per minute, resulting in a minimal increase in their blood pH after a couple hours (Dawson et al., 1978). Spectacled hare-wallabies are saltatorial, meaning they are specialized in hopping, and hop in a zigzag pattern when they are disturbed. Spectacled hare-wallabies are also solitary mammals (Gould, 1842). (Crew, 2014; Dawson and Bennett, 1978; Gould, 1841b; Gould, 1842)

Home Range

There is no known information on the average territory size of Lagorchestes conspicillatus.

Communication and Perception

The literature does not provide information on how Lagorchestes conspicillatus communicates, however, it is known that they are solitary (Gould, 1842). In the sister species, L. hirsutus, body language and vocalization are the primary forms of communication. Generally, individuals of this species are not aggressive, so it can be inferred that individuals of L. conspicillatus would also be non-aggressive and use body language and vocal cues to communicate. If two females of L. hirsutus meet, they will often sniff each other. Males will mark their territory through urine. If an individual is alarmed, it will let out a loud squeak and then hiss and run away towards cover (Lundie-Jenkins, 1993b; Mclean, et al., 1993) (Gould, 1842; Lundie-Jenkins, 1993b; McLean, et al., 1993)

Food Habits

Spectacled hare-wallabies are herbivores, however, no known studies have identified what types of vegetation they are consuming (Gould, 1842). The sister species, L. hirsutus, primarily eat seeds, fruits, grasses, sedges, and succulent shrubs and herbs (Lundie-Jenkins, 1993b) (Lundie-Jenkins, 1993d). (Gould, 1842; Lundie-Jenkins, 1993b; Lundie-Jenkins, 1993c)


The literature does not name any specific predators, however, there are several threats to Lagorchestes conspicillatus including wildfires, being trampled by larger animals, introduced predators (although none are named), grazing, and extreme weather events (AAP, 2014).

A closely related species, Lagorchestes hirsutus, that are also found in Western Australia, have a couple of known predators including feral cats and foxes (Findlay, 2011). (Australian Associated Press, 2014; Findlay, 2011)

Ecosystem Roles

Although predators of Lagorchestes conspicillatus are not named, it is known that there are predators, making this animal likely prey items in the system (AAP, 2014). Spectacled hare-wallabies are a solitary species, and so they do not interact much with other species (Gould, 1842). Spectacled hare-wallabies are herbivores, meaning they could be in competition with other herbivores or could be limiting some vegetation growth. (Gould, 1842). (Australian Associated Press, 2014; Gould, 1842)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The literature does not provide any information on the benefits that Lagorchestes conspicillatus provide to humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Lagorchestes conspicillatus on humans.

Conservation Status

Lagorchestes conspicillatus is currently listed as least concern (IUCN, 2018). They are not listed in the CITES appendices, however, a related species, L. hirsutus, is listed in Appendix I. Spectacled hare-wallabies are not listed on the United States Endangered Species Act, most likely because this species is not found in the United States. In the Northern Territory, the spectacle hare-wallabies are listed as near-threatened (Gould, 1842). Threats to spectacled hare-wallabies include wildfires, being trampled by large animals, introduced predators (none are named), grazing, and natural disasters (Australian Associated Press). Lagorchestes conspicillatus, as well as the sister species L. hirsutus, are being raised in captivity (Findlay, 2011). (Australian Associated Press, 2014; Findlay, 2011; Gould, 1842)

Other Comments

Spectacled hare-wallabies were thought to be extinct in the Kimberley region of Western Australia for close to 10 years until they were rediscovered in 2014. The last sighting prior to this was in 2004 (AAP, 2014). Although L. conspicillatus are listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List, they are still considered to be in danger due to declining population numbers (Australian Associated Press). The "Conservation Status" section covers some of the factors behind the decline, although no one single factor is responsible. (Australian Associated Press, 2014)


Courtney Oser (author), Colorado State University, Nathan Dorff (editor), Colorado State University, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



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

World Map


uses sound to communicate

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.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


union of egg and spermatozoan


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


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.


active during the night


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them


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


lives alone


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate


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


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