Notomys macrotis Thomas, 1921:538

Big-eared hopping-mouse, Big-eared western hopping-mouse, Large-eared hopping-mouse, noompa, bolong, bu-long, mar-do, bat-tong



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Notomys megalotis Iredale & Troughton, 1934:84


Conservation Status


Last record: 19 July 1843 or later (Ride, 1970:202); 1843 (Kitchener et al., 1980; Johnson, 2006:169; Lee et al., 2017)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


The Big-eared hopping mouse (Notomys macrotis) is only known from two damaged specimens held in the British Museum. One of which was collected by John Gilbert on 19 July, 1843, near New Norcia in the Moore River region (Ride, 1970:202). The other lacks locality data, and was purchased by the BMNH from John Gould's personal collection (Ibid.). It may very well have been collected at roughly the same time by Gilbert.

The writings of John Gilbert list three local aboriginal names for this species (Abbott, 2001), demonstrating aboriginal knowledge of the species.

It seems to be entirely absent from subfossil collections from localities throughout WA (Burbidge et al., 2009), indicating that it was a restricted endemic. However, although the last record of the species is more than 150 years ago, there was little collecting activity coincident with its presumably small range until well into the 1900's (Burbidge & Woinarski, 2016). So it's extinction chronology is virtually unknown, with predation by feral cats presumed to be responsible for its extinction.



Moore River region, Western Australia, Australia

Type locality: "Moore River, W.A." (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:168)


Anatomy & Morphology

Body mass: ~60gm (Johnson, 2006:169).


Biology & Ecology




Only known from two specimens, the holotype (BMNH and paratype (BMNH, according to (Ride, 1970). But both are listed as the holotype's skin and skull, respectively, by (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:168), who note that the species is "known only from two damaged specimens". Roycroft et al. (2021, 2022) list an historical skin from 1841) as part of their study (NHM 1841.1167).


Holotype: BMNH (skin) / BMNH (skull) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:168)


Other specimens:

NHM 1841.1167 (skin) (Roycroft et al. 2021, 2022)






Original scientific description:

Thomas, Oldfield. (1921). Notes on the species of Notomys, the Australian jerboa-rats. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 9, 8: 536-541.


Other references:

Abbott, Ian. (2001). Aboriginal names of mammals species in south-west Western Australia. CALMScience 3(4): 433-486.

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. [relevant citation?]

Abbott, I. 2006. Mammalian faunal collapse in Western Australia, 1875-1925: the hypothesised role of epizootic disease and a conceptual model of its origin, introduction, transmission, and spread. Australian Zoologist 33: 530-561. [relevant reference?]

Abbott, I. 2008. The spread of the cat, Felis catus, in Australia: re-examination of the current conceptual model with additional information. Conservation Science Western Australia 7: 1-17. [relevant citation?]

Anonymous. (1973). Additional protection for rare fauna. S.W.A.N.S. 4(2): 31-33.

Anonymous. (1977). Terrestrial native mammals of Western Australia. S.W.A.N.S. 7(1): 7-8. [a mere listing as being native to WA]

Braithwaite, R. W., Morton, S. R., Burbidge, A. A. and Calaby, J. H. (1995). Australian names for Australian rodents. Australian Nature Conservation Agency in association with CSIRO Australia, Canberra.

Brazenor, C. W. (1934). A revision of the Australian jerboa mice. Mem. Natn. Mus. 8: 74-89.

Burbidge, A.A. 2004. Threatened animals of Western Australia. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth.

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., McKenzie, N.L., Brennan, K.E.C., Woinarski, J. C. Z., Dickman, C. R., Baynes, A., Gordon, G., Menkhorst, P.W. and Robinson, A.C. 2009. Conservation status and biogeography of Australia’s terrestrial mammals. Australian Journal of Zoology 56: 411-422.

Burbidge, A.A. & Woinarski, J. 2016. Notomys macrotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T14865A22401041. Downloaded on 10 March 2018.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (2011). Notomys macrotis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Sun, 16 Jan 2011 16:11:34 +1100.

Dixon, Joan M. (1983). Big-eared hopping mouse Notomys macrotis, pp. 434. In: Strahan, Ronald (ed.) The Australian Museum Complete book of Australian mammals. Angus and Robertson : Sydney.

Dixon, Joan M. (1995). Big-eared hopping-mouse, Notomys macrotis. Pp. 578-579. In: Strahan, Ronald (ed.). The Mammals of Australia. Chatswood, N.S.W.: Reed Books. 756 pp.

Dixon, Joan M. (2008). Big-eared Hopping-mouse, Notomys macrotis. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 606. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Ellerman, J. R. (1941). 'The Families and Genera of Living Rodents with a List of Named Forms (1758-1936) by R. W. Hayman and G. W. C. Holt.' Vol. 2. Family Muridae. (British Museum: London.) 

Endangered Species Committee of the Total Environment Centre. (1983). Our Wildlife in Peril. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Reed.

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.

Freudenthal, M. and Martín-Suárez, E. (2013). Estimating body mass of fossil rodents. Scripta Geologica 145: 1-130. [0.055-0.090 kg estimate]

Frith, H. J. (1979). Wildlife Conservation, revised edition. Angus & Robertson. xiv + 416 pp. [p. 302 (table), p. 320 (species account as megalotis)]

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.

Iredale, Tom and Troughton, Ellis Le Geyt. (1934). A check-list of the mammals recorded from Australia. Mem. Aust. Mus. 6: i-xii, 1-122.

Jackson, Stephen and Groves, Colin. (2015). Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Clayton South, Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. 529 pp. [p. 200]

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

Kitchener, D. J., Chapman, A., Muir, B. G. and Palmer, M. (1980). The conservation value for mammals of reserves in the western Australian wheatbelt. Biological Conservation 18(3): 179-207. [last specimen in WA Wheatbelt collected in 1843]

Lee, A.K. 1995. The Action Plan for Australian Rodents. Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra, Australia.

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.

Mahoney, J. A. (1975). Notomys macrotis Thomas (1921), a poorly known Australian hopping mouse (Rodentia: Muridae). Aust. Mamm. 1(4): 367-374.

Mahoney, J. A. (1977). Skull characters and relationships of Notomys mordax Thomas (Rodentia: Muridae), a poorly known Queensland Hopping-mouse. Australian Journal of Zoology 25(4): 749-754. doi: 10.1071/ZO9770749 [Abstract]

Mahoney, J. A. and Richardson, B. J. (1988). Muridae, pp. 154-192. In: Walton, D. W. (ed.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 5. Mammalia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. x + 273 pp. [p. 168-169]

Menkhorst, Peter W. and Dixon, Joan M. (2023). Big-eared Hopping Mouse, Notomys macrotis, pp. 436-437. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

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Roycroft, Emily et al. (2021). Museum genomics reveals the rapid decline and extinction of Australian rodents since European settlement. PNAS 118(27): e2021390118.

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