Brushtailed phascogale

Phascogale tapoatafa

SUBFAMILY

Dasyurinae

TAXONOMY

Phascogale tapoatafa (F. Meyer, 1793), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Tuan, common wambenger, black-tailed phascogale. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 5.8-10.3 in (148-261 mm). Uniform grizzled gray above, cream to white below, with large, naked ears, and conspicuous black brush tail with hairs up to 2.1 in (55 mm) long.

DISTRIBUTION

Mesic coastal and hinterland areas of southeastern and southwestern Australia (P. t. tapoatafa). Monsoonal northern Australia (P. t. pirata).

HABITAT

Dry eucalypt forest and woodlands with open under-story in temperate and tropical Australia.

BEHAVIOR

One of most arboreal of the dasyurids; very agile hunter aboveground. Nesting and mating in tree hollows.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Nectar, large insects, spiders, and small vertebrates. Forages by tearing away bark and probing into crevices.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Semelparous with complete male die-off after a synchronized three-week mating season. Probably promiscuous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Lower Risk (Least Concern: P. t. tapoatafa and Near Threatened: P. t.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Occasionally takes penned poultry. ♦

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