The Kangaroo family and the distribution of species
Life on land
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Life on land
The trick in Australia is to try to rewrite history, that is rewrite the distribution maps of species as populations have dwindled, at the same time pretending that populations of animals such as the Macropod species have benefited from colonisation and the destruction of their habitat, their populations exploding. This is of course complete nonsense.
Regional extinctions are also commonplace as the range (distribution) of a species contracts and fragments. This self-deception means that conservation status listing of Australian species is not keeping up with the rapid decline of the species that live on the Australian Continent. The politics involved in listing species includes influencing outcomes, this is particularly evident when it comes to Kangaroo, Possum and Parrot species. The list below tells the Kangaroo story as it stands.
When you live in the Australian bush you get to know the Australian animals that live with you, each and every one. The Kangaroos, perhaps the closest of all. So when the shooters turn up unannounced and in the middle of the night, armed with high powered rifles and permits from government, often supported by police, it is like someone coming to your home and shooting your dog. It is the most terrible, terrifying and disempowering experience you can imagine. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
On the distribution of species
Alfred Russel Wallace was many things, Wallace was a naturalist, biologist and anthropologist, an explorer at a time when in Britain, many parts of the earth seemed remote and unknown. It was a time when the ecology of the world still held its mysteries and much of its nature remained intact. Wallace, however, began to register the changes to the environment, even in remote places.
Wallace, like Darwin, travelled extensively, but spending extended periods of time in South America and Asia. It was on the ground in distant places that he developed his theories on evolution by natural selection and the geographical distribution of species. In terms of thinking about the issues of natural selection in species Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin were contemporaries, Wallace triggering Darwin’s response, and that was the publication of On the origin of species in November 1859.
Wallace identified a distinct boundary, where to the west of the boundary life forms are typically of Asian origin and to the east of the boundary species are predominately Australasian. The Wallace Line, as it is known, tracks in between Borneo and the Celebes on through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok. There are a number of interesting differences of distribution between species, plants typically have managed to disperse across the Wallace Line more successfully than say mammals where species, with few exceptions, remain markedly different. Even birds tend not to make the journey across the water and therefore across the Wallace Line.
The Celebes remains an enigma.
Broad-faced Potoroo Potorous platyops
Central Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes asomatus
Crescent Nailtail Wallaby Onychogalea lunata
Desert Rat-kangaroo Caloprymnus campestris
Eastern Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes leporides
Nullarbor Dwarf Bettong Bettongia pusilla
Toolache Wallaby Macropus greyi
Black Dorcopsis Dorcopsis atrata
Dingiso Dendrolagus mbaiso
Gilbert’s Potoroo Potorous gilberti
Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus pulcherrimus
Tenkile Dendrolagus scottae
Wondiwoi Tree-kangaroo Dendrolagus mayri
Woylie Bettongia penicillata
Banded Hare-wallaby Lagostrophus fasciatus
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby Onychogalea fraenata
Calaby’s Pademelon Thylogale calabyi
Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus goodfellowi
Huon Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus matschiei
Long-footed Potoroo Potorous longipes
Mountain Pademelon Thylogale lanatus
Narbalek Petrogale concinna
Northern Bettong Bettongia tropica
Proserpine Rock-wallaby Petrogale persephone
Barrow Island Wallaroo Macropus robustusisabellinus
Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus bennettianus
Black-footed Rock-wallaby Petrogale lateralis
Pearson Island Rock-wallaby Petrogalelateris pearsoni
Recherche Rock-wallaby Petrogalelateris hacketti
Black Wallaroo Macropus bernardus
Bridled Nailtail Wallaby Onychogalea fraenata
Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Petrogale penicillata
Burrowing Bettong Bettongia lesueur
Cape York Rock-wallaby Petrogale coenensis
Doria’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus dorianus
Dusky Pademelon Thylogale brunii
Forester Kangaroo Macropus giganteus tasmaniensis
Grey Dorcopsis Dorcopsis luctuosa
Grizzled Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus inustus
Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus lumholtzi
Monjon Petrogale burbidgei
New Guinea Pademelon Thylogale browni
Parma Wallaby Macropus parma (believed to be extinct until rediscovered Kawau Island NZ in 1965, populations also discovered NSW 1967)
Quokka Setonix brachyurus
Rufous Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes hirsutus
Sharman’s Rock-wallaby Petrogale sharmani
Seri’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus stellarum
Small Dorcopsis Dorcopsulus vanheurni
Tasmanian Bettong Bettongia gaimardi
Tammar Wallaby (South Australia mainland) Macropuseugenii eugenii
Vogelkop Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus ursinus
Kangaroo Island Western Grey Kangaroo Macropusfuliginosus fuliginosus
Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby Petrogale xanthopus
Agile Wallaby Macropus agilis
Allied Rock-wallaby Petrogale assimilis
Antilopine Wallaroo Macropus antilopinus
Black-striped Wallaby Macropus dorsalis
Brown Dorcopsis Dorcopsis muelleri
Eastern Grey Kangaroo Macropus giganteus
Euro or Western Wallaroo Macropus robustus erubescens
Godman’s Rock-wallaby Petrogale godmani
Herbert’s Rock-wallaby Petrogale herberti
Kimberley Wallaroo Macropus robustus woodwardia
Long-nosed Potoroo Potorous tridactylus
Lowland’s Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus spadix
Macleay’s Dorcopsis Dorcopsulus macleayi
Mareeba Rock-wallaby Petrogale mareeba
Musky Rat-kangaroo Hypsiprymnodon moschatus
Northern Nailtail Wallaby Onychogalea unguifera
Purple-necked Rock-wallaby Petrogale purpureicollis
Red Kangaroo Macropus rufus
Red-legged Pademelon Thylogale stigmatica
Red-necked Pademelon Thylogale thetis
Red-necked Wallaby Macropus rufogriseus
Rothchild’s Rock-wallaby Petrogale rothschildi
Rufous Bettong Aepyprymnus rufescens
Short-eared Rock-wallaby Petrogale brachyotis
Spectacled Hare-wallaby Lagorchestes conspicillatus
Swamp Wallaby Wallabia bicolour
Tammar Wallaby (Western Australia) Macropuseugenii derbianus
Kangaroo Island Tammar Wallaby Macropuseugenii decres
Tasmanian Pademelon Thylogale billardierii
Eastern Wallaroo Macropus robustus
Western Brush-wallaby Macropus irma
Western Grey Kangaroo Macropus fuliginosus
Whiptail Wallaby Macropus parryi
White-striped Dorcopsis Dorcopsis hageni
Unadorned Rock-wallaby Petrogale inornata