1. Profile (Picture)
Dunnarts are small insectivorous marsupials found in Australia.
The Julia Creek dunnart weighs 40 - 70 g (1.4 - 2.5 oz). It is mainly found in Mitchell
grass on the cracking brown soils of the downs country of northwestern Queensland. The
region where it occurs has extensive natural grasslands and savanna woodlands with an annual rainfall of 450 mm (18
in). In addition to insects, dunnarts occasionally eat small vertebrates such as lizards
and mice. The Julia Creek dunnart is nocturnal. It
probably rests in the maze of underground cavities provided by the grass-covered soils of
the region where it is found. A female Julia Creek dunnart can have up to 8 young in a
*** The Julia Creek dunnart was discovered in 1931 but not recognized as a full species until 1979.
*** It is possible that its apparent rarity may be due more to a lack of surveys than actual rarity. It is found in an area where there have been few biological surveys.
*** The Julia Creek dunnart appears to be the largest species of dunnart.
*** A 1-day old Julia Creek dunnart in its mother's pouch is approximately 4 mm (1/6") long and weighs 15 mg (0.0005 oz). The newborn breathes through its skin. (Latrobe Univ. 1999a)
*** Additional specimens obtained in 1991 and 1992 doubled the known geographic range in Australia.
The Julia Creek dunnart was first documented by Western science in 1931 but not recognized as a full species until 1979. It was known only from the Cloncurry River area in northcentral Queensland, Australia. Only 4 specimens had been collected between 1931 and 1972, near Julia Creek and Richmond. However, in 1991 and 1992 additional specimens were found, including three live specimens in the downs country of northwest Queensland, which doubled the known range (to more than 200 km (124 mi) in the north-south direction) and increased the number of locations from 3 to 11.
It is not known whether a decline in the Julia Creek dunnart has occurred. Its apparent rarity may be due more to a lack of surveys than to actual rarity.
Burbidge & McKenzie 1989, Burton & Pearson 1987, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Kennedy 1992, Maxwell et al. 1996, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Oryx 1993b, Strahan 1995, Terrambiente
Last modified: June 2, 2005;