Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 14.4 years (captivity) Observations: Although they may reach sexual maturity earlier, females do not conceive until they are about 16 months-old (Virginia Hayssen et al. 1993).
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Allison Steinle, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Yellow-footed rock wallabies' numbers are steadily falling. Today, there are an estimated 5,000, in comparison to 12,000 ten years ago. This is predominantly due to the heavy infestation of feral goats and domestic sheep in their niches. Goats and sheep are two of the few species that can invade their relatively safe, rocky environment. Because they share the same diet as wallabies, goats and sheep have created unprecedented competition for resources and have forced them to move elsewhere for food and water. Wallabies have also suffered predation from non-native predators, such as foxes. Historically, P. xanthopus have also been hunted both for sport and for agricultural reasons (Nowak 1999; ESL 2000).

This species is listed in Appendix I of CITES, so international trade in animals or parts is illegal. It is listed as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The IUCN rates it "Lower Risk/near threatened" on the Red List.

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Benefits

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With the introduction of feral goats and domestic sheep and subsequent move of Petrogale xanthopus down the mountains in search of food and water (see the "Conservation" section below), pastoral lands, crops, and fences could be in danger of suffering damage from overgrazing. Because yellow-footed rock wallabies are so limited in number and distribution, however, significant damage is unlikely (Walton and Richardson 1989; ESL 2000).

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Benefits

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Humans have hunted Petrogale xanthopus and macropodids in general both for their meat and skins and for sport, though this species is now protected from hunting by law (Walton and Richardson 1989; Earth Sanctuaries Ltg. 2000).

More importantly, wallabies, especially rare and beautiful ones such as P. xanthopus, are one of the most eagerly sought attractions by foreign tourists. Although they are difficult to see in the wild, they are easy to keep in zoos and national parks. Although their exportation is strictly controlled, they provide an important source of income for Australia (Walton and Richardson 1989).

Positive Impacts: ecotourism

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Trophic Strategy

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Petrogale xanthopus are herbivores that rely on browsing and grazing. In the wet season, their diet predominantly consists of grasses. As conditions become increasingly dry, the species becomes more dependent on the leaf fall of shrubs and trees. In drought, this leaf fall becomes the staple of P. xanthopus' diet (Hume 1999).

Yellow-footed rock wallabies also have the unique ability to consume over ten percent of their body weight in water in about seven minutes. This allows them to utilize the infrequent summer rainstorms that occur in the region as opposed to the salty creek runoff that other species in the area rely on (Hornsby 1998).

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Distribution

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Petrogale xanthopus have a discontinuous range throughout Australia. Specifically, they are found in the states of South Australia (Flinders and Gawler Ranges and the Olary Hills), New South Wales (Gap and Coturaundee Ranges), and Queensland (Adavale Range) (Lyne 1967; Bates 2000).

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Habitat

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As their common name implies, yellow-footed rock wallabies live on cliff faces and rocky ramparts on mountain tops. This habitat restricts the species to isolated pockets of rocky outcrops, cliffs, and ridges in semi-arid country. Mulga scrub is the dominant vegetation in these areas but the rocky outcrops also provide a wider diversity of vegetation than is found in surrounding areas, which is essential to their diet (Dawson 1983, National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1999 ).

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
14.4 years.

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Allison Steinle, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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Petrogale xanthopus are medium-sized wallabies with a stocky build. Their head and body length can range anywhere from 480 to 650 mm, with an average of 600 mm, and their long, un-tapered tails from 570 to 700 mm, with an average of 690 mm. They have large hind feet that are 120 to 170 mm long and are marked with short claws and thick, course pads. They weigh from 6 to 11 kg. Females, like other marsupials, have a well-developed forward opening pouch and four teats. They are also slightly smaller than males. They are greyish above with white fur below, but the ears, legs, and feet are colored rich red to yellow. They have distinct white cheek and hind stripes, a buff-white side stripe, and a brown mid-dorsal stripe from the crown of their heads to the center of their backs. The tail is typically reddish-brown with dark stripes, but is variable (Walton and Richardson 1989; Hornsby 1998; Nowak 1999).

Said to be the most striking of all the kangaroos, P. xanthopus' coloring is extremely noticeable and gets increasingly lighter as one moves down the body, with the head and upper body a brownish-gray color and the rump a brighter gray. They are also characterized by a dark brown streak that runs from the wallabies' ears to their mid-back. This streak connects to brown and "yellow" patches that are found on the limbs. The face has white stripes running down each cheek with the aforementioned yellow coloring behind the ears (Bates 2000).

Range mass: 2 to 9 kg.

Range length: 480 to 650 mm.

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Reproduction

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Given good nutrition and living conditions, Petrogale xanthopus breed all year long. In fact, females ovulate, mate, and conceive within a day of giving birth, making it very common for them to be pregnant 365 days a year. Their estrus cycle lasts from 30 to 32 days and they have a gestation period of 30 to 32 days. The embryo will develop and be born after the removal of the previous young. Pouch life then lasts anywhere from 189 to 227 days. Sexual maturity is reached in males at about 590 days and in females at about 540 days after birth. The litter size is typically one, but twins are not unheard of (Walton and Richardson 1989; Nowak 1999; Bates 2000).

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 0.5 g.

Average gestation period: 31 days.

Average number of offspring: 1.1.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
541 days.

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Steinle, A. 2003. "Petrogale xanthopus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Petrogale_xanthopus.html
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Yellow-footed rock-wallaby

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The yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus), formerly known as the ring-tailed rock-wallaby, is a member of the macropod family (the marsupial family that includes the kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, and wallaroos).

Description

The yellow-footed rock-wallaby is grey to fawn-grey above and light-coloured below with a black mid-dorsal stripe from the crown of the head to the centre of the back. There is a distinct white cheek stripe, with ears ranging in colour from orange to grey-brown. The forearms and hind legs are bright yellow to rich orange to a light orange-brown. The tail is orange-brown irregularly ringed with dark brown and golden-brown, with the colour of the tip variable from dark brown to white. The head and body length is 480–650 mm (usually 600 mm), with tail length 570–700 mm (usually 690 mm), and weight 6–11 kg.[3][4][5]

Distribution and habitat

This species of rock-wallaby is found in western New South Wales, eastern South Australia and isolated portions of Queensland.[2][3][4][5] It is not typically found near human habitation, instead preferring rough terrain and rock outcroppings.[2][3][4][5]

Subspecies

There are two recognised subspecies.[1] There are no observable differences between the two subspecies, but genetic analysis of DNA samples from the different populations found them to be genetically distinct.[6] The genetic divergence between the subspecies is greater than that between some other rock-wallaby species, reinforcing the subspecies status.[6]

The two subspecies are:

P. x. xanthopus

P. x. xanthopus is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by the Australian government.[3][7] Colonies persist in South Australia, within the Gawler Ranges, the Flinders Ranges and the Olary Ranges.[3] The population is SA is estimated at around 2,000 to 6,500 animals, with great uncertainty and likely large fluctuations.[7][8] Due to conservation efforts by sanctuaries in the Flinders Ranges[9][10] and pastoralists in the Olary Ranges,[11] populations there have increased in recent years.

In NSW, colonies have been found at three sites in the Gap Range and seven sites in the Coturaundee Range,[3] with a population of between 170 and 215 animals.[7] Threats include competition from introduced herbivores (in particular feral goats and rabbits), predation by foxes and feral cats, isolation of populations, and habitat destruction through mineral exploration.[3]

P. x. celeris

P. x. celeris is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by the Australian government.[4] It has a restricted distribution in the rocky ranges of central-western Queensland.[4] Threats include fox predation, competition with domestic and wild introduced species (particularly goats and cattle), climate change, reduced access to water sources, habitat loss and fragmentation, and increase in bushfires.[4] The population of P. x. celeris was roughly estimated to be 5,000-10,000 individuals in 1993, but is now considered unknown.[12][13]

Conservation

Previously the species has been killed in large numbers for its pelt, primarily through the period between the 1880s and 1920s.[14][5][7]

The yellow-footed rock-wallaby was originally known and described from specimens from South Australia. The species was subsequently discovered in New South Wales (and Queensland) where it was first recorded in 1964[15][16] in the Coturaundee Ranges, now part of Mutawintji National Park.[17] The two small mountain ranges in the far west of the state are still the only known places where the species survives in New South Wales.[3]

In 1968, the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary was established on the 610-square-kilometre (240 sq mi) Arkaroola pastoral lease, with a specific goal of protecting the yellow footed rock wallaby. Conservation activities include extensive fox baiting, and the control of feral cats and goats, as well as occasional hand-rearing of abandoned joeys. [18][10][19]

In 1979, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife purchased 100 square kilometres of this land, which then became Coturaundee Nature Reserve, for the conservation and protection of the yellow-footed rock-wallaby.[17] Further funds were allocated to fox and goat eradication.[7][14] Annual surveys of the area, which is now part of Mutawintji National Park, indicate that the population is now recovering, seemingly having grown progressively since 1995, with at least one large fluctuation due to rainfall changes noted.[8] The recovery strategy that saved the yellow-footed rock-wallaby initially served as a model to preserve other rock-wallabies, including the brush-tailed rock-wallaby, from extinction.[5]

From 1998, when the first Indigenous Protected Area was set up adjacent to the southern boundary of the Gammon Ranges National Park, near Nepabunna, the Adnyamathanha people have been helping to protect the rock wallaby at Nantawarrina IPA. The Adnyamathanha people call the animal andu.[20][21][22]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Groves, C. P. (2005). "Petrogale xanthopus". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c Copley, P., Ellis, M. & van Weenen, J. (2008). "Petrogale xanthopus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2008.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)old-form url
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Approved Conservation Advice for Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus (Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (SA and NSW))" (PDF). Department of the Environment and Energy. Australian Government. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Threatened Species Scientific Committee (5 May 2016). "Conservation Advice Petrogale xanthopus celeris yellow-footed rock-wallaby (central-western Queensland)" (PDF). Department of the Environment and Energy. Australian Government. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Threatened Species Unit (September 1999). "Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby" (PDF). Office of Environment and Heritage. NSW Government. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b Eldridge, M.D.B. (1997). "Restriction Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA from the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby, Petrogale xanthopus: Implications for management". Wildlife Research. 24 (3): 289–294. doi:10.1071/WR96045 – via CSIRO publishing.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus — Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (SA and NSW)". Species Profile and Threats Database. Department of the Environment, Canberra. 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Petrogale xanthopus xanthopus (yellow-footed rock-wallaby (South Australia, New South Wales))". Department of Environment. Australian Government. 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  9. ^ Yellow-footed rock-wallaby recovery in the Flinders and Olary Ranges, South Australia 'Assessment of Australia's Terrestrial Biodiversity 2008'. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b The Arkaroola Policy regarding visiting the Sanctuary with a Dog Sprigg, M., Arkaroola Sanctuary. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  11. ^ Pastoralists bring yellow-footed rock wallaby back from the brink in South Australia's arid lands ABC Rural, 29 May 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  12. ^ Gordon, G. (July 1993). "The conservation status of the yellow-footed rock-wallaby in Queensland". ORYX. 27 (3): 159–168. doi:10.1017/S0030605300027964 – via ResearchGate.
  13. ^ "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  14. ^ a b Maxwell, S.; Burbidge, A.A.; Morris, K. (1996). "Recovery Outline Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby (SA+NSW)". The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN Species Survival Commission.
  15. ^ Yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Department of Environment and Resource Management) QLD, Australia, ...Within this range the rock-wallabies live in a number of colonies in Idalia, Welford and Hell Hole Gorge National Parks, and also on private land...
  16. ^ Ford, Fred (1 October 2014). John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Mammals of Australia. Canberra: National Library of Australia. p. 192. ISBN 9780642278616.
  17. ^ a b "from 5000 BC to present day at Mutawintji National Park". Teaching Heritage. NSW Department of Education and Training. 1999. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  18. ^ History of Arkaroola Arkaroola Sanctuary. Accessed 17 July 2018.
  19. ^ Wallaby with Doug Sprigg ABC News. Accessed 17 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Nantawarrina, the first IPA in Australia". indigenous.gov.au. 23 August 2018.
  21. ^ Braham, Kate (2007). Creating Livelihoods Through Indigenous Protected Areas: The Nantawarrina Experience (PDF) (BEnvMgmt (Hons) thesis). Flinders University. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Nantawarrina". Nepabunna. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
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Yellow-footed rock-wallaby: Brief Summary

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The yellow-footed rock-wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus), formerly known as the ring-tailed rock-wallaby, is a member of the macropod family (the marsupial family that includes the kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, and wallaroos).

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