Dusky Antechinus, Antechinus swainsonii
The dusky antechinus (Antechinus swainsonii), also known as the dusky marsupial mouse or Swainson’s antechinus, is a marsupial that can be found in Australia. Its range extends from southeastern areas of Queensland to southwestern areas of Victoria, but it can also be found on Tasmania. It prefers to reside in mountainous regions in open forest or alpine heath habitats. This species was first described in 1840 by George Robert Waterhouse and was named in honor of William Swainson. It holds three subspecies including A. s. swainsonii, which can be found on Tasmania.
The dusky antechinus is the largest member of its genus and can be either pale or dark in color. It is primarily terrestrial, a trait that is not typical to members of its genus, and is active during the daytime hours. Its main diet consists of invertebrates, although it will consume skinks and lizards if necessary. Its mating season is short and occurs during the winter months, after which most of the male members of the species die. Unlike other antechinuses, this species has been found to be more vocal, emitting hissing and chattering noises.
There are no major threats that affect the dusky antechinus, but some local populations have experienced population decline due to controlled fires and predation by red foxes and cats. Because of its stable population and lack of threats, it appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”
Image Caption: Swainson-Breitfussbeutelmaus (Antechinus swainsonii), maennlich, Bild aus Cape Conran Coastal Park, Victoria. Credit: Katrin Solmdorff/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)