Zyzomys pedunculatus (Waite, 1896:395)

Central rock-rat, Central rock rat, MacDonnell Range rock-rat, Central thick-tailed rock-rat, Central thick-tailed rat, Waite's rock-rat, Thick-tailed rat (used by Wood Jones, 1925:324)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Conilurus pedunculatus Waite, 1896:395 (basionym); Laomys pedunculatus (Waite, 1896:395); Conilurus pedunculatus brachyotis Waite, 1896:397


Conservation Status

Rediscovered twice: the first time (1966-1996) and second time (2002?-2010).

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered



Northern Territory, Australia

Type locality: "Alice Springs, N.T." (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)

Type locality (brachyotis): "Illamurta, James Range, N.T." (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)


Biology & Ecology





AM M1064 (skin (skull not extracted)) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)

SAMA M2437 (male; skull) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)

NMV C7806 (=57122 =R12316) (male; skin (wet, skull not extracted)) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)

BMNH (male; skin (wet, skull not extracted)) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)

BMNH (female; skin (wet) & skull) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)


Syntypes (brachyotis):

AM M1065 (female; skin (skull not extracted)) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)

SAMA M2412 (male; skull) (Mahoney & Richardson, 1988:191)


Other specimens:

MV Z34923 (Roycroft et al., 2021, 2022)

MV Z34925 (Roycroft et al., 2021, 2022)






Original scientific description:

Waite, E. R. (1896). Muridae, pp. 393-409, pls 25-26. In: Spencer, B. (ed.). Report on the Work of the Horn Scientific Expedition to Central Australia. Pt 2.—Zoology. Melbourne: Melville, Mullen & Slade.


Other references:

Anonymous. (1977). MacDonnell Range Rock-Rat, Central Thick-tailed Rat, Zyzomys pedunculatus. Mammals No. 6. In: Australian Endangered Species. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Baynes, Alexander and Jones, Barbara. (1993). The mammals of Cape Range peninsula, Western Australia, pp. 207-226. In: Humphreys, W. F. (ed.). The Biogeography of Cape Range, Western Australia. Perth: Western Australian Museum.

Baynes, Alexander and McDowell, Matthew C. (2010). The original mammal fauna of the Pilbara biogeographic region of north-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 78: 285-298.

Baynes, Alexander, Piper, Cassia J. and Thorn, Kailah M. (2019). An experimental investigation of differential recovery of native rodent remains from Australian palaeontological and archaeological deposits. Records of the Western Australian Museum 34(1): 1-30.

Begg, R. J. (1983). Central Rock-rat Zyzomys pedunculatus, p. 390. In: Strahan, Ronald M. (ed.). The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals. The National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

Burbidge, A. A and Fuller, P. J. (1979). Mammals of the Warburton region, Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 8(1): 57-73.

Cole, J. (2000). Recovery Plan for the Central Rock-rat (Zyzomys pedunculatus). Project Number 583. The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra, Australia.

Crowley, G. M. (ed.). (2008). Management Guidelines for the Threatened Species of the Northern Territory. Version 1. Tropical Savannas CRC, Darwin.Generated from on 9th September, 2008.

Edwards, G. P. (2012). Temporal analysis of the diet of the central rock-rat. Australian Mammalogy 35(1): 43-48. [Abstract]

Edwards, G. P. (2013). Relative abundance of the central rock-rat, the desert mouse and the fat-tailed pseudantechinus at Ormiston Gorge in the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park, Northern Territory. Aust Mammal 35: 144-148.

Finlayson, Hedley Herbert. (1941). On central Australian mammals. Part II: The Muridae. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 65: 215-232.

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: 141-192.

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

Flannery, Timothy F. (2009a). The Third Wave. The Monthy, April. [pagination?]

Flannery, Timothy F. (2009b). The Third Wave, pp. 45-50. In: Davidson, Robyn (ed.). The Best Australian Essays, 2009. Melbourne: Black Inc. xii + 384. [Flannery (2009a) included in a collection of essays]

Frith, H. J. (1979). Wildlife Conservation, revised edition. Angus & Robertson. xiv + 416 pp. [p. 43, p. 302 (table), p. 321 (species account)]

Gaikhorst, G. and Lambert, C. (2009). Breeding and maintenance of the Central rock-rat [i]Zyzomys pedunculatus[/i] at Perth Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 43(1): 212-221. [Abstract]

Garnett, Stephen T., Hayward-Brown, Brittany K. et al. (2022). Australia's most imperilled vertebrates. Biological Conservation 270: 109561.

Geyle, Hayley M. et al. (2018). Quantifying extinction risk and forecasting the number of impending Australian bird and mammal extinctions. Pacific Conservation Biology 24(2): 157-167.

Hoser, Raymond T. (1991). Endangered Animals of Australia. Mosman, NSW: Pierson & Co. 240 pp. [pp. 182]

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. 210]

Kendrick, George W. and Porter, Jennifer K. (1974). Remains of a Thylacine (Marsupialia: Dasyuroidea) and other fauna from caves in the Cape Range, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 56(4): 116-122.

Kitchener, D. J. (1989). Taxonomic appraisal of Zyzomys (Rodentia, Muridae) with descriptions of two new species from the Northern Territory, Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 14: 331-373.

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. 191]

McDonald, Peter J. (2023). Central Rock-rat, Zyzomys pedunculatus, pp. 489-490. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

McDonald, Peter J. et al. (2013). Extant population of the Critically Endangered central rock-rat Zyzomys pedunculatus located in the Northern Territory, Australia. Oryx 47(2): 303-306. [Abstract]

McDonald, Peter, Brittingham, Richie, Nano, Catherine and Paltridge, Rachel. (2014). A new population of the critically endangered central rock-rat (Zyzomys pedunculatus) discovered in the Northern Territory. Australian Mammalogy 37(1): 97-100. [Abstract]

McDonald, Peter J., Stewart, A., Schubert, A. T., Nano, C. E. M., Dickman, Chris and Luck, G. W. (2016). Fire and grass cover influence occupancy patterns of rare rodents and feral cats in a mountain refuge: implications for management. Wildl. Res. 43: 121-129.

McDonald, Peter J., Stewart, A. and Dickman, Chris. (2018). Applying the niche reduction hypothesis to modelling distributions: a case study of a critically endangered rodent. Biol. Conserv. 217: 207-212.

Morse, Kate. (1993). Who can see the sea? Prehistoric Aboriginal occupation of the Cape Range peninsula. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 45: 227-242.

Nano, T. (2008). Central Rock-rat, Zyzomys pedunculatus. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 658-660. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Nano, T. J., Smith, C. M., and Jefferys, E. (2003). Investigation into the diet of the central rock-rat (Zyzomys pedunculatus). Wildlife Research 30: 513-518.

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.

Pavey, C. (2002). Central Rock-Rat: Zyzomys pedunculatus. Threatened Species of the Northern Territory.

Piper, Cassia J. and Veth, Peter M. (2021). Palaeoecology and sea level changes: Decline of mammal species richness during late Quaternary island formation in the Montebello Islands, north-western Australia.  Palaeontologia Electronica 24(2): a20.

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

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.

Scheffers, Brett R., Yong, Ding Li, Harris, J. Berton C., Giam, Xingli and Sodhi, Navjot S. (2011). The world’s rediscovered species: back from the brink? PLoS ONE 6(7): e22531. [Supporting Information (Table S1)]

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.

Watts, C. H. S. (1979). The status of endangered Australian rodents, pp. 75-83. In: Tyler, Michael J. (ed.). The Status of Endangered Australasian Wildlife. Adelaide: Royal Zoological Society of South Australia.

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

Woinarski, J. and Morris, K. (2008). Zyzomys pedunculatus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. ( Downloaded on 28 April 2013.

Wood Jones, Frederic. (1925). The Mammals of South Australia. Part III. (Conclusion) Containing the Monodelphia. Adelaide: Government Printer. 3: 271-458. [21 December 1925] [p. 324-325 (species account), p. 325-326 (species account as synonym brachyotis)]

Wurst, D. 1990. Report on the survey for the Central Rock-rat Zyzomys pedunculatus in the Alice Springs Region. Endangered Species Program Project Number 6. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra (unpublished).

Wurst, D. (1995a). Search for the central rock-rat. Australian Natural History 24(12): 38-45.

Wurst, D. 1995b. Central Rock-rat, Zyzomys pedunculatus, pp. 624-625. In: Strahan, Ronald (ed.). The Mammals of Australia. Chatswood, N.S.W.: Reed Books. 756 pp.

Wurst, D. 1997. Rock-rats alive! Nature Australia, Spring, 1997:12-14. [includes a photograph of the species]


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