Chuditch

Dasyurus geoffroii

SUBFAMILY

Dasyurinae

TAXONOMY

Dasyurus geoffroii (Gould, 1841), Liverpool Plains, New South Wales, Australia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES English: Western quoll.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Brown above, light below, with conspicuous white spots on body, and bushy tail black on distal half.

DISTRIBUTION

Formerly western two-thirds of inland Australia. Now restricted to nine localities (including reintroduction sites) in the extreme southwest.

HABITAT

Open, dry eucalypt forests, woodlands, and shrublands. Formerly deserts.

BEHAVIOR

Solitary. Females maintain an exclusive core range that overlaps with several males.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Primarily insects, also birds, mammals, and reptiles. Can kill vertebrate prey larger than body size.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Up to six young. Longevity in the wild rarely more than three years. Probably promiscuous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable. Was Endangered until 1996. Introduced red foxes are the primary cause of decline. Current populations require ongoing fox baiting for their survival.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS A nuisance as a predator of poultry. ♦

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 6.5-8.7 in (166-220 mm). Silvery speckled gray to reddish coat with long, white-tipped tail; long, pointed snout, small eyes, and very long claws.

DISTRIBUTION

High mountain forests of western New Guinea (over 6,500 ft; 2,000 m).

HABITAT

Wet montane moss forest.

BEHAVIOR Diurnal.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Large insects, probably small vertebrates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known, but probably promiscuous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Data Deficient.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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