Bettongia anhydra (Finlayson, 1957:552)

Desert bettong



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Bettongia lesueur anhydra (Finlayson, 1957); Bettongia penicillata anhydra Finlayson, 1957


Wakefield (1967) synonymized B. lesueur anhydra with B. l. lesueur. It was reinstated and elevated to specific status by Matt McDowell and co-authors in a series of publications (McDowell, 2013; McDowell et al., 2013; McDowell, et al., 2015).


Conservation Status


Last record: 1933 (Terry, 1937?; McDowell et al., 2015)

IUCN status: Extinct



McEwin Hills, east of Lake McKay, Tanami Desert, Northern Territory (historical) & Western Australia (extreme south-eastern; prehistoric), Australia

Type locality: "near McEwin Hills, Lake MacKay area, N.T." (Calaby & Richardson, 1988:55)


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: SAMA M3582 (partial skull with mandible) (Calaby & Richardson, 1988:55)






Original scientific description:

Finlayson, Hedley Herbert. (1957). Preliminary description of two new forms of Bettongia (Marsupialia). Annals And Magazine of Natural History (12) 10: 552-554. [Abstract]


Other references:

Bolton, B.L. and Latz, P.K. 1978. The western hare-wallaby Lagorchestes hirsutus (Gould) (Macropodidae) in the Tanami Desert. Australian Wildlife Research 5: 285-293.

Burbidge, A.A., Johnson, K.A., Fuller, P.J. and Southgate, R.I. 1988. Aboriginal knowledge of the mammals of the central deserts of Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 15: 9-39.

Burbidge, A. A. and Zichy-Woinarski, J. (2016). Bettongia anhydra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T71510353A71510399. Downloaded on 18 December 2016.

Calaby, J. H. and Richardson, B. J. (1988). Potoroidae, pp. 53-59. In: Walton, D. W. (ed.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 5. Mammalia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. x + 273 pp. [p. 55]

Christensen, P. and Burrows, N.L. 1994. Project desert dreaming: the re introduction of mammals to the Gibson Desert, Western Australia. In: M. Serena (ed.), Reintroduction biology of Australian and New Zealand fauna, pp. 190-207. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton.

Finlayson, Hedley Herbert. (1958). On central Australian mammals (with notice of related species from adjacent tracts). Part III—The Potoroinae. Rec South Aust Mus 13: 235-303.

Jackson, Stephen and Groves, Colin. (2015). Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Clayton South, Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. 529 pp. [p. 135]

Latz, P. 1995. Bushfires and bushtucker, Aboriginal plant use in Central Australia. IAD Press, Alice Springs.

McDowell, Matthew C. (2013). Late Quaternary faunal responses to environmental change and isolation on a large Australian land-bridge island. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Flinders University, Adelaide.

McDowell, Matthew C. (2023). Desert Bettong, Bettongia anhydra, pp. 288-289. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

McDowell, Matthew C., Haouchar, Dalal, Aplin, Ken P., Bunce, Michael, Baynes, Alexander and Prideaux, Gavin J. (2015). Morphological and molecular evidence supports specific recognition of the recently extinct Bettongia anhydra (Marsupialia: Macropodidae). Journal of Mammalogy 96(2): 287-296.

McDowell, M. C., Prideaux, G. J., & Baynes, A. (2013). The elevation of Bettongia anhydra (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) to specific status. Late Quaternary faunal responses to environmental change and isolation on a large Australian land-bridge island, 58.

Short, J. 1998. The extinction of rat-kangaroos (Marsupialia: Potoroidae) in New South Wales, Australia. Biological Conservation 86: 365-377.

Terry, Michael. (1937). Sand and Sun. London: Michael Joseph Limited. [relevant citation?]

Wakefield, N. A. (1967). Some taxonomic revision in the Australian marsupial genus Bettongia (Macropodidae), with description of a new species. Victorian Naturalist 84: 8-22.

Woinarski, John C. Z., Braby, M. F., Burbidge, A. A., Coates, D., Garnett, S. T., Fensham, R. J., Legge, S. M., McKenzie, N. L., Silcock, J L. and Murphy, B. P. (2019). Reading the black book: The number, timing, distribution and causes of listed extinctions in Australia. Biological Conservation 239: 108261.

Woinarski, J. C. Z., Burbidge, A. A. and Harrison, P. L. (2014). The Action Plan for Australian Mammals 2012. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.


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