Lagorchestes asomatus Finlayson, 1943:319

Central hare wallaby, Lake Mackay hare-wallaby, Least hare-wallaby, Hare-wallaby (Frith, 1979:319), kuluwarri (aboriginal name), see (Burbidge et al., 1988, 2023) for many other aboriginal names



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: 1932 (Terry, 1937?; Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Burbidge et al., 2023:348); between 1940-1960 (according to local aboriginals; Burbidge et al., 1988); 1960 (Johnson, 2006:169)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


This species was described from the holotype, a skull removed and collected in 1931 or 1932 (accounts vary) from a recently dead individual by Michael Terry, somewhere between Lake Mackay and Mount Farewell on the WA/NT border. Troughton (1957:172) states that "the complete animal was collected by the explorer Michael Terry, but the skull alone was preserved for the South Australian Museum".

Local aboriginal descriptions of an animal which fits the known details of this enigmatic species state that it disappeared between 1940 and 1960 (Burbidge et al., 1988). The reason/s for its extinction are unknown, but are presumably anthropogenic, such as predation by introduced species and habitat modification/degradation.



Northern Territory (south-western), South Australia (extreme north-western) & Western Australia (central), Australia

Type locality: "between Mount Farewell and Lake Mackay in Central Australia, at longitude 129°30' east and latitude 22°15' south approx." 


Anatomy & Morphology

Body mass: 1500gm (Johnson, 2006:169).


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: terrestrial, folivore."

(Calaby & Richardson, 1988:62)



Holotype: SAMA M3710 (skull only) (Calaby & Richardson, 1988:62)


Other material:

Material from at least 3 juveniles was reported by (McNamara, 1997). Cast material (Parnaby et al., 2017:401).






Original scientific description:

Finlayson, Hedley Herbert. (1943). A new species of Lagorchestes (Marsupialia). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 67: 319-321.


Other references:

Aitken, P. F. (1983). Central Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes asomatus. In 'The Australian Museum complete Book of Australian Mammals'. (Ed. R. Strahan.) pp. 200-1. (Angus and Robertson: Sydney.)

Aitken, P. F., Burbidge, A. A., Johnson, K. A. and Fuller, P. J. (1995). Central Hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes asomatus, pp. 311-312. In: Strahan, Ronald (ed.). The Mammals of Australia. Chatswood, N.S.W.: Reed Books. 756 pp.

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.

Brook, B. W. and Bowman, D. M. J. S. (2004). The uncertain blitzkrieg of Pleistocene megafauna. Jour­nal of Biogeography 31(4): 517-523.

Burbidge, Andrew A. and Fuller, Phillip J. (1984). Finding out about Desert Mammals. S.W.A.N.S. 14(1): 9-13.

Burbidge, A. & Johnson, K. (2008). Lagorchestes asomatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 22 September 2011.

Burbidge, Alan A., Johnson, K. A. and Fuller, Phillip J. (2023). Central Hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes asomatus, pp. 348-349. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

Burbidge, A. A., Johnson, K. A., Fuller, P. J. and Aitken, P. F. 2008. Central Hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes asomatus. In: Van Dyck, S. and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition., pp. 312-313. Reed New Holland, Sydney.

Andrew A. Burbidge; Ken A. Johnson; Phillip J. Fuller, and R. I. Southgate. (1988). Aboriginal Knowledge of the Mammals of the Central Deserts of Australia. Aust. Wildl. Res.15: 9-39.

Burbidge, Andrew A. and McKenzie, Norman L. (1989). Patterns in the modern decline of western Australia's vertebrate fauna: Causes and conservation implications. Biological Conservation 50(1-4): 143-198.

Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J. 2016. Lagorchestes asomatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T11160A21954573. Accessed on 02 July 2022.

Calaby, J. H. and Richardson, B. J. (1988). Macropodidae, pp. 60-80. In: Walton, D. W. (ed.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 5. Mammalia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. x + 273 pp. [p. 62]

Finlayson, Hedley Herbert. (1961). On central Australian mammals. Part IV. The distribution and status of central Australian species. Records of the South Australian Museum 14: 141-191.

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Freudenthal, M. and Martín-Suárez, E. (2013). Estimating body mass of fossil rodents. Scripta Geologica 145: 1-130. [1.5-5 kg estimate]

Frith, H. J. (1979). Wildlife Conservation, revised edition. Angus & Robertson. xiv + 416 pp. [p. 302 (table), p. 319 (species account)]

Goodwin, Harry A. and Goodwin, J. M. (1973). List of mammals which have become extinct or are possibly extinct since 1600. Int. Union Conserv. Nat. Occas. Pap. 8: 1-20.

How, R. A., Cooper, N. K. and Bannister, J. L. (2001). Checklist of the mammals of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement No. 63: 91-98.

Jackson, Stephen and Groves, Colin. (2015). Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Clayton South, Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. 529 pp. [p. 151]

Johnson, Chris N. (2006). Australia's Mammal Extinctions: A 50 000 Year History. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press. x + 278 pp. [p. 169, p. 177]

Kirsch, J. A. W., and J. H. Calaby. 1977. The species of living marsupials: An annotated list. Pp. 9-26, in The biology of marsupials (B. Stonehouse and D. Gilmore, eds.). University Park Press, Baltimore, 486 pp.

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

Latz, P. K., and Griffin, G. F. 1978. Changes in Aboriginal land management in relation to fire and food plants in central Australia. In: B. S. Hetzel and H. J. Frith (eds), The nutrition of Aborigines in relation to the ecosystems of central Australia, pp. 77-85. CSIRO, Melbourne.

Lee, T. E., Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Wintle, B. A. (2017). Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge. Global Change Biology 23(2): 621-634.

Low, Tim and Booth, Carol. (2023). GONE: Australian animals extinct since the 1960s. Invasive Species Council Inc.

Maxwell, S., Burbidge, A.A. and Morris, K. 1996. The 1996 Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes. Australasian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland.

McNamara, J. C. (1997). Some smaller macropod fossils of South Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 117: 97-106.

Parker, Shane A. (1973). An annotated checklist of the native land mammals of the Northern Territory. Records of the South Australian Museum 16(11): 1-57.

Parnaby, Harry, Ingleby, Sandy and Divljan, Anja. (2017). Type specimens of non-fossil mammals in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Records of the Australian Museum 69(5): 277-420.

Pavey, Chris. (2006). "Lagorchestes asomatus" Threatened Species Information Sheet, Northern Territory Government. Accessed: 8 May, 2011 (available online:

Ride, W. D. L. (1970). A Guide to the Native Mammals of Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

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

Thornback, Jane and Jenkins, Martin (compilers). (1982). The IUCN Mammal Red Data Book. Part 1: Threatened Mammalian Taxa of the Americas and the Australasian Zoogeographic Region (Excluding Cetacea). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 516 pp.

Troughton, Ellis Le Geyt. (1957). Furred Animals of Australia, 6th edition. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009). Holocene mammal extinctions, pp. 41-61. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Turvey, Samuel T. and Fritz, Susanne A. (2011). The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366(1577): 2564-2576. [Supplementary Information]

Wilson, D. E. and Reeder, D. M. (2005). Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

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


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