Onychogalea frenata Gould, 1841:92

Bridled nail-tailed wallaby, Bridled nail-tail wallaby, Bridled wallaby, Bridled kangaroo (Gray, 1843:88), Merrin (Murray-Darling aboriginal name) (Krefft, 1866:19), "Flash Jack" (Troughton, 1957:189), Flashjack, Waistcoat wallaby, Bridled kangaroo (Waterhouse, 1841:202)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Onychogalea frenatus Gould, 1841:92; Macropus frenatus Gould, 1840:685; Macropus frænatus Gould, 1841:92; Onychogale frænata Gould, 1841:92; Onichogalea frenatus Gould, 1841:92; Onychogale frenata Gould, 1841:92 (used by Lucas & Le Souëf, 1909:78); Onychogalea fraenata Gould, 1841:92


Conservation Status

Last record: 1930 (Flannery et al., 1990:88); 1937 (Ride, 1970:207); c.1939-1949 (Gordon & Lawrie, 1980:341)

Rediscovered in 1973 (Gordon & Lawrie, 1980)

IUCN RedList status: Endangered


Pre-European distribution

Dawson (1985) lists the species from Wellington Caves, New South Wales.

Williams (1982) appears to have collected (sub)fossil remains from South Australia (publ. unsighted by the present author).


European discovery and distribution

Holotype: BMNH 41.1130 (adult male, skin and skull). Type locality: "interior of N.S.W." (Calaby & Richardson, 1988)

John Gilbert, one of John Gould's many collectors, recorded in his diary for 1845 several previously unpublished localities for central and north Queensland (Gordon & Lawrie, 1980:341).

Carl Lumholtz collected the species in the Rockhampton district, Queensland, in 1880-1884 (Finlayson, 1931:85).


Translocated population

Individuals were released onto Bulba Island (now Pulbah Island) in Lake Macquarie, N.S.W. prior to its initial disappearance (in the 1930's) in the hopes of conserving the species (Troughton, 1941,1957:189). This translocated population would presumably have been monitored, particularly as the species disappeared from it's natural range by the late 1930's. However, Ride (1970:207-208) notes that a "recent inspection by Mr F. Hersey, the Chief Field Officer of the New South Wales Fauna Protection Panel, has failed to reveal the presence of any". Indicating that the population was largely forgotten about.



The last records that I can find are as follows:

Manilla, north-east New South Wales, 1924, at least one specimen collected (Ride, 1970:207)

Southern Queensland, c.1927-1928, "its pelts were frequently seen in the sales two or three years ago" (Longman, 1930:59)

Dawson Valley, central coastal Queensland, Herbert Hedley Finlayson observed it twice in Summer 1928-1929 (Finlayson, 1931:85)

Dawson River, south-eastern Queensland, 1929, one or two specimens taken (Ride, 1970:207)

Dawson Valley, Queensland, 1930 (Flannery et al., 1990:88)

"at an unrecorded place, possibly in central Queensland, in 1937", a specimen taken? (Ride, 1970:207)

The Southernwood station specimen, central Queensland, collected 30-40 years ago (viz. c.1939-1949) (Gordon & Lawrie, 1980:341)


Unconfirmed Reports

Before it's official rediscovery, there were unconfirmed ("conflicting" (Thornback & Jenkins, 1982:7)) reports of the species along the borders of the Gibraltar Range National Park in north-eastern N.S.W., close to the Queensland border (Anon., 1975,1976a,1976b).



A fencing contractor from Duaringa, Queensland (Mr. D. Challacombe), recognised one of John Gould's lithographic plates (of [i]O. fraenata[/i]) reproduced in a Woman's Day (sic: Women's Day (Flannery et al., 1990:88)) magazine article as similar to an animal he had previously seen near Dingo. As a result, extensive surveys were carried out and the species was found to be relatively common on two properties: Taunton and Redhill, together around 11,200 ha (Gordon & Lawrie, 1980). With a much smaller number of sightings from other properties in the area (Ibid.).

The two properties of Taunton and Redhill were purchased by the Government in 1979 and 1984, respectively. They later became the scientific nature reserve Taunton National Park.



New South Wales, Queensland & South Australia, Australia (Troughton, 1957:188)

Type locality: "interior of N.S.W." (Calaby & Richardson, 1988:73)


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: temperate, open woodland, tussock grassland, nocturnal, crepuscular, terrestrial, folivore; usually solitary."

(Calaby & Richardson, 1988:73)



Holotype: BMNH 41.1130 (adult male; skin and skull) (Calaby & Richardson, 1988:73)


Other specimens:

WAM 17155 (Kitchener & Vicker, 1981:67)

WAM 17156 (Kitchener & Vicker, 1981:67)

F31048 (Dawson, 1985:67)

AM M37128 (Helgen et al., 2006:302)






Original scientific description:

Gould, John. (1841). On five new species of kangaroos. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1840: 92-94.


Other references:

"An Old Bushman" [Morton, William Lockhart]. (1861). Notes of a tour in the Wimmera District. The Yoeman, and Australian Acclimatizer 1. ["wallaby" might refer to this species (Bennett et al. 2006)]

Anonymous. (1842). New species of kangaroosTasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics, &c. 1(4): 300-303.

Anonymous. (1964). A preliminary list of rare mammals including those believed to be rare but concerning which detailed information is still lacking. IUCN Bulletin 11(Special Supplement): 4 pp.

Anonymous. (1975). Bridled Nail-tailed Wallaby in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. Tigerpaper 2(3): 26.

Anonymous. (1976a). Bridled Nail-tailed Wallaby. Tigerpaper 3(1): 26.

Anonymous. (1976b). More on the Bridled Nail-tailed Wallaby. Tigerpaper 3(3): 25.

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