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                Dibbler

                Dibbler

                Freckled marsupial mouse, Southern dibbler, Speckled marsupial mouse

                Kingdom
                Phylum
                Subphylum
                Class
                Infraclass
                Family
                Tribe
                SPECIES
                Parantechinus apicalis
                Population size
                500-1,000
                Life Span
                2-3 yrs
                WEIGHT
                40-100 g
                LENGTH
                10-16 cm

                Dibblers are found in south-western Australia. The natural range of this species includes Fitzgerald River National Park and the islands of Boullanger and Whitlock, while translocated populations inhabit Escape Island, Peniup, and Stirling Range National Park. The ideal habitat for these marsupials is dense heath environment with areas of sandy soil.

                Distribution

                Dibblers are found in south-western Australia. The natural range of this species includes Fitzgerald River National Park and the islands of Boullanger and Whitlock, while translocated populations inhabit Escape Island, Peniup, and Stirling Range National Park. The ideal habitat for these marsupials is dense heath environment with areas of sandy soil.

                Dibbler habitat map

                Geography

                Continents
                Countries

                Climate zones

                Habits and Lifestyle

                These crepuscular animals spend their daytime hours resting in their shelters, which are logs or sites between rocks. Periods of increased activity are dawn and dusk. When chasing prey, these marsupials are able to jump and climb trees if necessary. Dibblers are mainly solitary animals, although reintroduced populations of this species are known to gather in groups of up to 100 individuals. These amazingly agile animals easily run through impassable undergrowth. Communication system of dibblers is unknown. However, they may vocalize during the mating season, although these calls are not intended to attract mates. Currently, there is no information on the ways these animals attract mates and sense environment, although their close relatives generally use senses of sight and smell.

                Diet and Nutrition

                Dibbler is a carnivorous animal, which primarily feeds upon spiders and insects, complementing its diet with nectar, berries as well as birds, reptiles and mice.

                Mating Habits

                MATING BEHAVIOR
                REPRODUCTION SEASON
                March-April
                PREGNANCY DURATION
                44-53 days
                BABY CARRYING
                8 joeyes
                INDEPENDENT AGE
                3-4 months
                BABY NAME
                joey

                Dibblers are polygynandrous (promiscuous): this is when both males and females have multiple mates. Mating occurs between March and April. Males of this species can breed multiple times during the year, while females usually breed only once a year. Gestation period is quite long for small dasyurids, lasting for 44 - 53 days, yielding up to 8 babies. Young remain in the pouch of their mother, becoming independent only after 3 - 4 months old. By September-October, young leave their mother and disperse. Sexual maturity is reached at 10 - 11 months old.

                Population

                Population threats

                Dibblers have lost about 90% of their original range. The reason of sharp decline in their habitat and overall population is unknown for today. One of the biggest threats to these animals is thought to be land clearing and resulting fragmentation of their habitat. Dibblers are predated by foxes, cats and other introduced mammals. And finally, they suffer from burning of heathland and litter, reducing the amount of prey items.

                Population number

                According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Dibblers is about 500-1,000 mature individuals, including the three island populations – around 200 individuals. In addition, there’s a reintroduced of this species on Escape Island, estimated to around 30 adult individuals. Overall, Dibblers’ numbers are decreasing today, and the animals are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

                Ecological niche

                On the mainland southern dibblers affect insect populations in their range. They also serve as prey larger mammals.

                Fun Facts for Kids

                • Beginning with the early 1990s, this species was believed to have gone extinct, until a pair of dibblers was accidently found in 1967 on Cheyne Beach on the south coast of Western Australia.
                • The scientific name of this marsupial is ‘Parantechinus apicalis’, meaning a ‘pointed antechinus-like animal’. Dibbler is called 'pointed' for either its characteristically pointed nose or the tapering pointy tail.
                • The feet of this animal are wide and its toes are equipped with claws. Dibbler exhibits grooves, which stretch along its feet pads, serving as suckers.
                • Dibbler is a marsupial animal. The word marsupial derives from 'marsupium', which means 'pouch', referring to the bags, where marsupial species carry and suckle their offspring.
                • Marsupial animals are widely distributed around the globe. Thus, they are represented by 120 species in Australia, 53 species in New Guinea, 90 species in South and Central America and 2 species in North America.
                • Dibbler perceives its environment primarily through the senses of smell and hearing. Most marsupials possess scent glands, which convey a lot of information on an individual. Through their scent glands, these animals can inform conspecifics on their gender, mood (e.g. anger, fear) as well as belonging to a certain group.

                References

                1. Dibbler Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dibbler
                2. Dibbler on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/16138/0

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