Pseudomys shortridgei (Thomas, 1907:765)

Heath mouse, Heath rat, Blunt-faced rat, Shortridge's native mouse, dayang



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Mus shortridgei Thomas, 1907:765 (basionym)


Conservation Status

Last record: 1931

Rediscovered in 1967



Victoria & Western Australia, Australia

Type locality: "neighbourhood of Woyerling Reserve, W.A. 973 ft (altitude from skin label), as Woyaline, E of Pinjelly, 970 feet, near water." (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:180)


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: temperate, open heath, terrestrial, folivore, florivore, frugivore, granivore, fungivore."

(Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:180)



Holotype: BMNH (male; skin & skull) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:180)


Other specimens:

ABTC08079 (Roycroft et al., 2021, 2022)

MV Z25113 (Roycroft et al., 2021, 2022)

WAM M52339 (Roycroft et al., 2021, 2022)

WAM M62127 (Roycroft et al., 2021, 2022)






Original scientific description:

Thomas, Oldfield. (1907). List of further collections of mammals from Western Australia, including a series from Bernier Island, obtained for Mr. W.E. Balston; with field-notes by the collector, Mr. G.C. Shortridge. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1906: 763-777.


Other references:

Abbott, Ian. (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.

Baverstock, P. R., Watts, C. H. S., Adams, M. and Cole, S. R. (1981). Genetical relationships among Australian rodents (Muridae). Aust. J. Zool. 29: 289-303.

Baverstock, P. R., Watts, C. H. S. and Hogarth, J. T. (1977). Chromosome evolution in Australian rodents I. The Pseudomyinae, the Hydromyinae and the Uromys/Melomys Group. Chromosoma 61: 95-125.

Baynes, Alexander, Chapman, Andrew and Lynam, Antony J. (1987). The rediscovery, after 56 years, of the heath rat Pseudomys shortridgei (Thomas, 1907) (Rodentia: Muridae) in Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 13(2): 319-322.

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.

Breed, W. G. (1980). Further observations on spermatozoal morphology and male reproductive tract anatomy of Pseudomys and Notomys species (Mammalia: Rodentia). Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 104: 51-55.

Burbidge, Alan A. and Woinarski, John C. Z. (2016). Pseudomys shortridgei (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18557A115143771. Accessed on 03 September 2022.

Cockburn, A. 1978. The distribution of Pseudomys shortridgei (Muridae: Rodentia) and its relevance to that of other heathland Pseudomys. Australian Wildlife Research 5: 213-219.

Cockburn, A. 1979. The ecology of Pseudomys species in south-eastern Australia. Monash University.

Cockburn, A. (1983). Heath Rat Pseudomys shortridgei, pp. 404-405. In: Strahan, Ronald M. (ed.). The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals. The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

Cockburn, A., Braithwaite, R. W. and Lee, A. K. (1981). The response of the heath rat, Pseudomys shortridgei, to pyric succession: a temporally dynamic life-history strategy. J. Anim. Ecol. 50: 649-666.

Cooper, N.K., Bertozzi, T., Baynes, A. and Teale, R.J. 2003. The relationship between eastern and western populations of the heath rat, Pseudomys shortridgei (Rodentia: Muridae). Records of the Western Australian Museum 21: 367-370.

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

Di Stefano, J., Ashton, A. and York, A. (2014). Diet of the silky mouse (Pseudomys apodemoides) and the heath rat (P. shortridgei) in a post-fire environment. Int. J. Wildland Fire 23: 746-753.

Di Stefano, J., Owen, L., Morris, R., Duff, T. and York, A. 2011. Fire, landscape change and models of small mammal habitat suitability at multiple spatial scales. Austral Ecology 36: 638-649.

Fisher, Diana O. (2011). Trajectories from extinction: where are missing mammals rediscovered? Global Ecology & Biogeography 20: 415-425. [Appendix S1]

Hill, R. 2005. Status of the Heath Mouse in the Wimmera. Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, Horsham.

Jones, S., Mooney, P., Ross, J. and Pisanu, P. 2010. The distribution and ecology of threatened small mammals on Kangaroo Island. Department for Environment and Heritage, Kingscote.

Le Duff, M., Haby, N. and Herpich, D. 2009. Habitat preference of the Heath Mouse (Pseudomys shortridgei) in the South East of South Australia and implications for restoration and management. Report for the Native Vegetation Council, South Australia.

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

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. 180]

McDowell, M.C. 1997. Taphonomy and palaeoenvironmental interpretation of a late Holocene deposit from Black’s Point Sinkhole, Venus Bay, SA. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 117: 79–95.

McDowell, M.C. and Medlin, G.C. 2010. Natural resource management implications of the pre-European non-volant mammal fauna of the southern tip of Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Australian Mammalogy 32: 67–93.

McDowell, M.C., Baynes, A., Medlin, G.C. and Prideaux, G.J. 2012. The impact of European colonization on the late-Holocene non-volant mammals of Yorke Peninsula, South Australia. The Holocene 22: 1441-1450.

Menkhorst, Peter W. and Knight, Frank. (2011). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Menkhorst, P.W. and Cancilla, D. (2023). Heath mouse, Pseudomys shortridgei, pp. 477-478. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

Menkhorst, P.W., Cockburn, A. and Cancilla, D. 2008. Heath mouse Pseudomys shortridgei (Thomas, 1907). In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia, pp. 850-852. Reed New Holland, Melbourne.

Meulman, E.P. 1997. The ecology of the Heath Mouse, Pseudomys shortridgei in the Grampians National Park, Victoria. Charles Sturt University.

Mitchell, E. 2007. Influence of disturbance on threatened fauna and associated habitat, Victoria. Deakin University.

Morris, R.L. 2007. Fire as an agent in small mammal habitat change: with reference to the Heath Mouse Pseudomys shortridgei. University of Melbourne.

Morrissey, B. L. and Breed, W. G. (1982). Variation in external morphology of the glans penis of Australian native rodents. Aust. J. Zool. 30: 495-502.

Robinson, A.C. and Armstrong, D.M. 1990. A biological survey of Kangaroo Island, South Australia, in November 1989 and 1990. Department for Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs, South Australia.

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

Roycroft, Emily et al. (2022). New Guinea uplift opens ecological opportunity across a continent. Current Biology.

Salinas, M., Bunce, M., Cancilla, D. Deryn L. Alpers, D.L., and Spencer, P.B.S. 2009. Divergent lineages in the heath mouse (Pseudomys shortridgei) are indicative of major contraction to geographically isolated refugia on the eastern and western sides of Australia during the early Pleistocene. Australian Journal of Zoology 57: 41–47.

Sanders, A., Chapman, A., Teale, R.J. and Harold, G. 2012. Vertebrate fauna of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve, Western Australia. Western Australian Naturalist 28: 141-253.

Wakefield, Norman A. (1967). Preliminary report on McEachern's Cave, S.W. Victoria. The Victorian Naturalist 84(12): 363-383.

Watson, A.J., Meulman, E.P. and Seebeck, J.H. 2003. ‘Heath Mouse Pseudomys shortridgei.’ Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Action statement 187. In: Melbourne (ed.), Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Watts, C. H. S. and Aslin, H. J. (1981). The Rodents of Australia. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. xii + 321 pp., 16 pls.


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