Leporillus apicalis Gould, 1853:126

Lesser stick-nest rat, White-tipped stick-nest rat, White-tailed stick-nest rat, White-tipped hapalotis, White-tipped house-building rat, White-tailed house-building rat (Calaby, 1969), White-tipped tree-rat (Troughton, 1923:33; Mahoney, 1982:25), White-tipped jerboa-rat (Ogilby, 1892:116), Tillikin (Krefft, 1866:4), Djooyalpi (Crowther, 2013)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Hapalotis apicalis Gould, 1853:126; Conilurus apicalis Gould, 1853:126; Conilurus apicalis Gould, 1851(:iii?) (cited by Ogilby, 1892:116)


Conservation Status

Last Record: 1933 (Robinson et al. 2000); July 1933 (Tindale, 1933); 1970?

IUCN status: Extinct


The last reliable record of this species was in 1933, when two specimens were captured west of Mount Crombie by A. Brumby of Ernabella (Finlayson, 1961; Ride, 1970:203). However, several possible records since then hint at its possible continued survival. For example, Firth (1979) reports [i]Leporillus[/i] sp. stick nests from the Gibson Desert in 1958. Another report from Western Australia in 1970 may possibly be of this species (Robinson, 2008; Robinson & Burbidge, 2008). However, the species' sole surviving congener (L. conditor) is now limited to offshore islands and ex situ mainland populations, and thus any mainland record of Leporillus sp. would have to rule out L. conditor.



New South Wales (prehistoric), Northern Territory, South Australia & Western Australia (incl. prehistoric; Bowdler, 1995), Australia






FMNH 16628
FMNH 18725 to 18732






Original scientific description:

Gould, John. (1853). [description of Leporillus apicalis]. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1853: 126.


Other references:

Abbott, Ian. (2008). Historical perspectives of the ecology of some conspicuous vertebrate species in south-west Western Australia. Conservation Science W. Aust. 6(3): 1-214.

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]

Bamford, Mandy et al. (2009). Mammals of the Avon Region. Bentley, W.A.: Department of Environment and Conservation. 132 pp. [pp. 106-107]

Baynes, Alexander. (1984). Native mammal remains from Wilgie Mia Aboriginal Ochre Mine: evidence of the pre-European fauna of the western arid zone. Records of the Western Australian Museum 11(3): 297-310.

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.

Bennett, Andrew F., Lumsden, Linda F. and Menkhorst, Peter W. (2006). Mammals of the Mallee Region, Victoria: past, present and future. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 118(2): 259-280.

Bowdler, Sandra. (1995). The excavation of two small rockshelters at Monkey Mia, Shark Bay, Western Australia. Australian Archaeology 40: 1-13.

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

Burbidge, Andrew A. and Fuller, Phillip J. (1984). Finding out about Desert Mammals. S.W.A.N.S. 14(1): 9-13.

Burbidge, Andrew A., Fuller, P. J. and McKenzie, N. L. (1995). Vertebrate fauna. In: Keighery, G. J., McKenzie, N. L. and Hall, N. J. (eds.). The Biological Survey of the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. Part 12. Barlee–Menzies Study Area. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 49: 208-245.

Burbidge, A. A., McKenzie, N. L., Chapman, A. and Lambert, P. M. (1976). The wildlife of some existing and proposed reserves in the Great Victoria and Gibson Deserts, Western Australia. Wildl. Res. Bull. West. Aust. 5: 1-16.

Calaby, J. H. (1969). Australian Mammals since 1770. Australian Natural History 16(8): 271-275.

Copley, Peter. (1988). The Stick-nest Rats of Australia, a final report to World Wildlife Fund (Australia). Adelaide: National Parks and Wildlife Service & Department of Environment & Planning, South Australia.

Copley, Peter. (1999). Natural histories of Australia’s stick-nest rats, genus Leporillus (Rodentia : Muridae). Wildlife Research 26(4): 513-539. [Abstract]

Crowther, Mathew. (2013). Australian endangered species: Lesser Stick-nest Rat. The Conversation, 3 October, available online: https://theconversation.com/australian-endangered-species-lesser-stick-nest-rat-18614

CR Dickman, K-P Leung & SM Van Dyck. (2000). Status, ecological attributes and conservation of native rodents in Queensland. Wildlife Research 27: 333.

Douglas, A. M. (1980). Our dying fauna: a personal perspective on a changing environment. Perth, Western Australia: Creative Research, association with Biological Sciences. [possible reports of the persistence of the Lesser Stick-nest Rat]

Ellis, Murray and Henle, Klaus. (1988). The mammals of Kinchega National Park western New South Wales. Australian Zoologist 25(1): 1-5.

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.

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. [0.150 kg estimate]

Frith, H. J. (1979). Wildlife Conservation, revised edition. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. [report of Leporillus sp. nests from the Gibson desert in 1958]

Giles, E. (1889). Australia twice traversed, being a narrative compiled from the journals of five expeditions into central South Australia and Western Australia, 1872-76. Vol. 1. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington Limited.

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.

Gould, John. (1853). The Mammals of Australia, volume 3. London: John Gould.

Gratte, S. (1972). The Stick-nest Rat Leporillus conditor in the Gibson Desert. Western Australian Naturalist 12(3): 50-51.

Henry-Hall, N.J. (1990). Nature conservation reserves in the Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia (southern two-thirds of CTRC System 11). Unpublished report submitted to the EPA Red Book Task Force. Environmental Protection Authority, Perth, Western Australia. [Appendix 13]

Hoser, Raymond T. (1991). Endangered Animals of Australia. Mosman, NSW: Pierson & Co. 240 pp. [pp. 158]

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.

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.

Krefft, Gerard. (1862). The vertebrated animals of the Lower Murray and Darling, their habits, economy, and geographical distribution. [i]The Sydney Morning Herald[/i], 24th October, p. 2.

Krefft, Gerard. (1864). Catalogue of Mammalia in the Collection of the Australian Museum. Sydney: Australian Museum.

Krefft, Gerard. (1866). On the vertebrated animals of the lower Murray and Darling, their habits, economy, and geographical distribution. Transactions of the Philosophical Society of New South Wales 1862-1865: 1-33.

Krefft, Gerard. (1871). The mammals of Australia, illustrated by Miss Harriet Scott, and Mrs. Helena Forde, for the Council of Education; with a short account of all the hitherto described. Sydney: Government Printer.

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

Lundelius, Ernest L. (1957). Additions to knowledge of the ranges of Western Australian mammals. West. Aust. Nat. 5: 173-182.

Lundelius, Ernest L. (1963). Vertebrate remains from the Nullarbor Caves, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 46: 75-80.

Lundelius, Ernest L. and Turnbull, William D. (1999). Leporillus (Rodentia: Muridae) from Madura Cave, W.A. Proceedings of The Linnean Society of New South Wales 121: 129-146.

Mahoney, J. A. (1975). The identity and status of Thomas' "lectotype" of Leporillus apicalis (Gould, 1853) (Rodentia: Muridae). Transactions of The Royal Society of South Australia 99: 101-104.

Mahoney, J. A. (1982). Identities of the rodents (Muridae) listed in TL Mitchell's " Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales" (1st ed., 1838; 2nd ed., 1839). Australian Mammalogy [b]5(1)[/b]: 15-36.

Mahoney, J. A., and Richardson, B. J. (1988). Muridae, pp. 154-192. In: Bannister, J. L. et al. (eds.). Zoological catalogue of Australia. Mammalia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 5: 1-274.

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(12): 1441-1450.

Lynne McCarthy, Lesley Head and Jay Quade. (1996). Holocene palaeoecology of the northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia, based on stick-nest rat (Leporillus spp.) middens: a preliminary overview. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 123(1-4): 205-218. [Abstract]

Menkhorst, P. W. (ed.). (1995). Mammals of Victoria: distribution, ecology and conservation. Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 359 pp.

Menkhorst, Peter W. (2009). Blandowski’s mammals: Clues to a lost world. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 121(1): 61-89.

Monks, Carly Elizabeth. (2018). Fire and Fauna: Investigating Aboriginal land management in the Northern Sawn Coastal Plain, Western Australia. BA (Hons) thesis, School of Social Sciences, Archaeology, The University of Western Australia. xvii + 346 pp.

Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Ogilby, J. Douglas. (1892). Catalogue of Australian Mammals, with Introductory Notes on General Mammalogy. Australian Museum, Sydney: Catalogue No. 16: viii + 142 pp. [p. 116]

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.

Pearson, S. (1999). Late Holocene biological records from the middens of stick-nest rats in the central Australian arid zone. Quaternary International 59(1): 39-46.

S. G. Pearson, A. Baynes and B. E. Triggs. (2001). The record of fauna, and accumulating agents of hair and bone, found in middens of stick-nest rats (Genus Leporillus) (Rodentia : Muridae). Wildlife Research 28(4): 435-444. [Abstract]

Pearson, S. and Dodson, J.R. 1991. Stick-nest rat middens as sources of palaeoecological data in Australian deserts. Quaternary Research 39: 347-354.

Pearson, S., Lawson, E., Lesley, L., McCarthy, L. and Dodson, J. (1999). The spatial and temporal patterns of stick-nest rat middens in Australia. Radiocarbon 41(3): 295-308.

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

Robinson, A. C. (1995). Lesser Stick-nest Rat, Leporillus apicalis. Pp. 558-559, in Mammals of Australia (R. Strahan, ed.). Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 756 pp.

Robinson, A. C. (2008). Lesser Stick-nest Rat, Leporillus apicalis. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 585-586. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Robinson, A.C., Kemper, C.M., Medlin, G.C. and Watts, C.H.S., 2000. The rodents of South Australia. Wildlife Research 27: 379-404.

Robinson-Rechavi, M., L. Ponger, and D. Mouchiroud. 2000. Nuclear gene LCAT supports rodent
monophyly. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 17:1410-1412. [relevant citation?]

Seebeck, John Hilary. (1995). Terrestrial mammals in Victoria–a history of discovery. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 107(1): 11-23.

Seebeck, John Hilary, WIlson, Barbara A. and Menkhorst, Peter W. (2003). Conservation and management of hydromyine rodents in Victoria, Australia, 89-94. In: Grant R. Singleton, Lyn A. Hinds, Charles J. Krebs and Dave M. Spratt, 2003. Rats, mice and people: rodent biology and management. ACIAR Monograph No. 96. 564 pp.

Spencer, W. B. (1896). Mammalia. In: Spencer, W. B. (ed.). Report on the work of the Horn Scientific Expedition to Central Australia, Pt. 2: 1-52.

Thomas, Oldfield. (1921). [title?]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 1921: 619.

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.

Tindale, N.B. 1933. Original journal. Anthropological expedition to Mann Range – 1933. Anthropological Archives, South Australian Museum. Tindale Journal Index No. AA 338/1/9. (Includes x4 reels film titled: ‘A day in the life of the Pitjantjatjara’, and sound recordings).

Troughton, Ellis Le Geyt. (1923). A revision of the rats of the genus Leporillus and the status of Hapalotis personata Krefft. Records of the Australian Museum 14(1): 23-41.

Troughton, Ellis Le Geyt. (1924). The Stick-Nest Building Rats of Australia. The Australian Museum Magazine 2(1): 18-22.

Troughton, Ellis Le Geyt. (1941). Furred Animals of Australia. Sydney: Angus and Robertson Ltd.

Tunbridge, D. 1991. The story of the Flinders Ranges mammals. Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst.

Wakefield, N. A. (1966a). Mammals of the Blandowski Expedition to north-western Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 79(2): 371-391.

Wakefield, N. A. (1966b). Mammals recorded for the mallee, Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 79(2): 627-636.

Watts, C. H. S. (1979). The status of endangered Australian rodents, pp. ?-?. 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.

Watts, C. H. S., Baverstock, P. R. and Birrell, J. and Krieg, M. (1992). Phylogeny of the Australian Rodents (Muridae) - a Molecular Approach Using Microcomplement Fixation of Albumin. Australian Journal of Zoology 40(1): 81-90. [Abstract]

Watts, C.H.S. and Eves, B.M. (1976). Notes on the nests and diets of the white-tailed stick-nest rat [i]Leporillus apicalis[/i] in northern South Australia. South Australian Naturalist 51(1): 9-12.

Webeck, K and Pearson, S. (2005). Stick-nest rat middens and a late-Holocene record of White Range, central Australia. The Holocene 15(3): 466-471. [Abstract]

Williams, L. M. (1995). Lesser stick-nest rat, Leporillus apicalis. Pp. 205-206, in Mammals of Victoria, distribution, ecology and conservation (P. W. Menkhorst, ed.). Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 360 pp.

Wilson, D.E. & Reeder, D.M. 2005 Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A.A. 2016. Leporillus apicalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T11633A22457421. Downloaded on 25 July 2016.





<< Back to the Rodents database