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Easter safety is paramount for our parks and reserves

18/04/2019

The Parks and Wildlife Service encourages visitors and Tasmanians alike to get outdoors and get active - especially in our parks and reserves.More

Good news, Hartz Mountain National Park and other tracks are open!

17/04/2019

In time for Easter walking, PWS have been able to re-open a number of tracks.More

New Mt Mawson Shelter officially opened ahead of ski season

29/03/2019

The new Mt Mawson Public Shelter was today officially opened and will provide a new level of amenity for southern Tasmania's only ski field, as well as upgraded facilities for bushwalkers heading to the iconic Tarn Shelf walk in Mt Field National Park.More

Dusky Antechinus, Antechinus swainsonii

The dusky antechinus is a typically-sized carnivorous marsupial, with males averaging 65 grams (females average 41 grams). It is a dark grey to black in colour.

Diet and behaviour

Despite its small size, the species is a voracious carnivore, feeding on soil invertebrates with seeming intensity. Its diet comprises insects, worms, lizards and, occasionally, even small birds, and is supplemented with vegetable matter.

As with most marsupials, the dusky antechinus is nocturnal, spending the day-light hours within a nest in a hollowed log or among the thick leaf litter and ground vegetation of the forest floor. Like many marsupials, the species is solitary. Interaction between individuals tend to be largely confined to mating, and the mother-young interaction.

Breeding

The dusky antechinus, in common with the swamp antechinus, has a remarkable breeding biology. Copulation occurs during a short season in winter. The males, driven to somewhat frenzied sexual activity due to raised testosterone levels compete vigorously for females. Within three weeks, almost all the males in the population are dead. This male die-off is largely brought on by the high stress levels associated with the physiological changes brought on by the breeding period.

The female gives birth after a four week gestation period. Six to eight young are born and carried in the pouch for up to eight weeks. Young are then left in a den before becoming independent at about three months.

Distribution and status

The species is found on the southeast coastal regions of mainland Australia. In Tasmania, the dusky antechinus prefers rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests.

The species is common in suitable habitat.