Antechinus flavipes flavipes
My first encounter with this amazing mini marsupial. Also known as Mardo, it's a mostly nocturnal species about the size of a small rat, and from my observations, is lightning-fast - I watched it dart in and out of its tree hollow numerous times. I feel so blessed to have spotted this fellow in broad daylight. A member of the family Dasyuridae, antechinus is a marsupial, although its pouch is poorly developed, and despite its size and appearance, is not a rodent at all, but is, in fact, related to the cat-sized quolls as well as the Tasmanian devil. The teeth of antechinus are also ‘cat-like’ with no prominent front incisors. One notable feature of the species is its sexual behavior. *Males live for exactly eleven-and-a-half months, dying from stress-induced immune system breakdown about two weeks after mating. Females, especially from larger species, may live longer, with around 30 to 50 per cent raising two litters, while only ten per cent of females from smaller species live long enough to breed again. Dying after only a single reproductive event is known as semelparity, and is vary rare in vertebrate species. Among mammals, it is only known to occur in insect-eating marsupials, and until fairly recently was thought to exist only in antechinus, but has now been identified in a small handful of other dasyurid genera. *Info sourced from ABC Science page. See reference link. PS: Another species considered for this spotting was Antechinus stuartii, the brown antechinus, although only Antechinus flavipes has been documented in this national park. Antechinus stuartii, however, has been recorded in the Brisbane area and would be my second ID choice.
Occupies a variety of habitats, often in moist bracken, lantana and creek verges, in arid scrubland and sclerophyll forest, coastal heaths and swamps. This antechinus lives in a tree stump, situated on the verge of a small rainforest pocket at Lake Manchester, a freshwater reservoir west of Brisbane. It is located in Brisbane Forest Park, an area of dense native bushland and subtropical rainforest.
Only by sheer chance did I spot this antechinus - it was nothing more than a peripheral flash, but enough to make me turn back and take a closer look. It also took me an hour to get the main photos in this set. He stuck his head out of the lower opening of the stump a few times, so it was there that I focused all my attention, not realising there were other 'secret' exit points in this abode, and I was being spied upon cautiously from above (last photo). I moved in as close as I dare and remained as quiet and still as possible, but my backpack grew heavy, my feet went to sleep and my leg cramped. All I could do was sit it out and hope for another sighting, and perhaps a few decent photos. I think this is a male because a scrotum seems to be visible (fourth photo). Or perhaps this is part of a pouch, thus a female? Regardless, once fully-emerged from the stump, he began scratching at the wood with his claws, and then spun around in the opposite direction and scratched again (third and fourth photos). Perhaps this is a territorial or mating display? This action was repeated several times.
Lat: -27.48, Long: 152.78
Spotted on Jul 14, 2018
Submitted on Jul 14, 2018
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