Macrotis leucura (Thomas, 1887:397)

Lesser bilby, Lesser rabbit-eared bandicoot, White-tailed bilby, Lesser rabbit bandicoot, White-tailed rabbit-eared bandicoot, White-tailed rabbit bandicoot, yallara (Wangkangurru), atnunka (Aranda), nantakarra (Pintupi, Wangkatjungka, Warlpiri), Tjunpi (Kartutjarra, Kukatja, Manytjilytjarra, Ngaanyatjarra, Ngaatjatjarra, Pintupi), Ngatukutiri (Kartutjarra, Manytjilytjarra, Kukatja, Putitjarra), djoonpi, ?wadlyu (Barngarla (Eyre Peninsula); Schürmann, 1844; Tunbridge, 1991:28), ?warda (Tunbridge, 1991:51-52)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Peregale leucura Thomas, 1887:397 (basionym); Peragale leucura Thomas, 1887:397; Thalacomys leucura Thomas, 1887:397; Thylacomys leucurus Thomas, 1887:397 (used by Anonymous, 1964); Peragale minor Spencer, 1897:6; Macrotis minor Spencer, 1897:6; Thalacomys minor Spencer, 1897:6; Thalacomys minor miselius Finlayson, 1932:168; Macrotis minor miseliae Tate, 1948:343


Conservation Status


Last record: 1931 (Johnson, 2008; Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Lee et al., 2017; Johnson, 2023:197); 1960's (Johnson, 2006:169); c.1968 (according to aborigines at Clutterbuck Hills)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


Ironically this species was last seen by Europeans in 1931 when it was still considered to be locally common by Finlayson. But a generally accepted anecdote states that a skull was found at the base of a Wedge-tailed eagle's (Aquila audax) nest by P. Hanisch in January 1967 (Parker, 1973:12), and subsequently estimated to be less than 15 years old given the skull's good condition. This would set the minimum extinction date as 1952 or later, and is consistent with reports from the local aboriginal tribes that it only became extinct sometime during or after the 1960's (Burbidge et. al. 1988).



Northern Territory (south-eastern), Queensland (extreme south-western), South Australia (northern) & Western Australia (mid-eastern), Australia

Type locality: unknown locality (Mahoney & Ride, 1988:44) 

Type locality (minor): "sand-hills about 40 miles NE of Charlotte Waters, N.T." (Mahoney & Ride, 1988:44) 

Type locality (miselius): "Cooncherie, S.A. (as Cooncherie, on the lower, 26°32', approx.)" (Mahoney & Ride, 1988:45)


Anatomy & Morphology

Body mass: 350gm (Johnson, 2006:169).


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: terrestrial, fossorial, nocturnal, frugivore, predator, desert sand dunes; burrows in dunes, diet includes rodents."

(Mahoney & Ride, 1988:45)



Holotype: BMNH (male; skin & spirit specimen)

Holotype (minor): NMV C7091 (male; in alcohol without skull) / skull possibly NMV C7294 (as identified by Troughton, 1932:233) (Mahoney & Ride, 1988:44)

Holotype (miselius): SAMA M3465 (male; skin & skull) (Mahoney & Ride, 1988:45)


Other specimens:

MCZ 33873 (skin; female)

MCZ 33874 (skull; female)

SAM M3933 (spirit specimen) (Tunbridge, 1991:13)






Original scientific description:

Thomas, Oldfield. (1887). Description of a second species of rabbit-bandicoot (Peragale). Annals and Magazine of Natural History, ser. 5, 19: 397-399.


Other references:

Abbott, I. 2002. Origin and spread of the cat, Felis catus, on mainland Australia, with a discussion on the magnitude of its early impact on native fauna. Wildlife Research 29: 51-74.

Aitken, P. (1979). The status of endangered Australian wombats, bandicoots and the marsupial mole, pp. ?-?. In: Tyler, Michael J. (ed.). The Status of Endangered Australasian Wildlife. Adelaide: Royal Zoological Society of South Australia.

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.

Archer, Michael and Kirsch, J. A. W. (1977). The case for the Thylacomyidae and Myrmecobiidae Gill , 1872, or why are marsupial families so extended? Proc. Linnean Soc. New South Wales 102: 18-25.

Berndt, R. M. and Vogelsang, T. (1941). Comparative Vocabularies of the Ngadjuri and Dieri Tribes, South Australia. TRSSA 65(1).

Black, J. M. (1920). Vocabularies of Four South Australian Languages — Adelaide, Narrunga, Kukata and Narrinyeri — With Special Reference to Their Speech Sounds. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 44: 76-93.

Burbidge, A., Johnson, K. & Dickman, C. (2008). Macrotis leucura. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 11 September 2011.

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.

Dickman, C.R. 1996. Overview of the impacts of feral cats on Australian native fauna. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra.

Dixon, Joan M. (1970). Catalogue of mammal types (Class Mammalia) in the National Museum of Victoria. Mem. Natl. Mus. Vic. 31: 105-114.

Dixon, Joan M. (1988). Notes on the diet of three mammals presumed to be extinct: the Pig-footed Bandicoot, the Lesser Bilby and the Desert Rat Kangaroo. Victorian Naturalist 105: 208-211.

Finlayson, Hedley Herbert. (1932). Preliminary description of two new mammals from South Australia. 1. Thalacomys minor, var. miselius (subsp. nov.). 2. Pseudomys (Gyomys) apodemoides (sp. nov.). Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 56: 168-171.

Finlayson, Hedley Herbert. (1935). On the Mammals from the Lake Eyre Basin. Part II. The Peramelidae. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 59: 227-236.

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.

Flannery, T. and Schouten, P. 2001. A gap in nature: discovering the world’s extinct animals. Text Publishing, Melbourne.

Frith, H. J. (1979). Wildlife Conservation, revised edition. Angus & Robertson. xiv + 416 pp. [p. 302 (table), p. 318 (species account)]

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Gason, Samuel. (1879). The Manners and Customs of the Dieyerie Tribe of Australian Aborigines, pp. 257-307. In: Woods, J. D. (ed.). The Native Tribes of South Australia. E.S. Wigg & Sons.

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.

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Johnson, K.A. & Southgate, R.I. 1990. Present and former status of bandicoots in the Northern Territory. Pp. 85-92 In: Seebeck, J.H.., Brown, P.R., Wallis,R.L. & Kemper, C.M. Bandicoots and bilbies. Sydney: Surrey Beatty & Sons.

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