THREATENED SPECIES INFORMATION

Smoky Mouse
Pseudomys fumeus (Brazenor, 1934)
Other common name None Conservation status
The Smoky Mouse is listed as an Endangered Species on Schedule 1 of the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995 (TSC Act). furred and noticeably bicoloured being similar to the top of the body dorsally and white ventrally. As in most Hydromyines, the Smoky Mouse has only 4 teats, whereas members of the Murinaea (eg. bushrats and house mice) have 8-12 teats.

Description (summarised from Watts & Aslin
1981; Cockburn 1995; Ford 1998a) Head and Body Length 85-100 (90)mm Tail Length 110-145 (140)mm Weight 45-90 (70)g - Grampians - (Cockburn 1995) 38-68 (52)g - SE NSW - (Ford 1998a)

Distribution
Sub-fossil deposits indicate that the Smoky Mouse was once widespread in south-eastern NSW and in parts of Victoria (Lee 1995). Since European settlement this range has declined and is currently limited to a small number of sites scattered throughout western, southern and eastern Victoria, south-east NSW and the ACT. The present distribution is disjunct, including both coastal and mountain sites (Menkhorst & Seebeck 1981). Smoky Mouse populations are present in the Grampians, the highlands north-east of

The Smoky Mouse is a native mouse similar in size to a small rat. Individuals have soft, fine, pale grey to blue-grey (eastern form) to black (western form) fur with a grey to white belly and a ring of dark hairs around the eye. The feet are pink with white fur. The tail is longer than the head-body length, lightly

Linda Broome/NPWS Smoky Mouse

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Lismore

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Tibooburra
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Moree
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Grafton

Bourke

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Tamworth
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Port Macquarie

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Broken Hill

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Dubbo
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Newcastle
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Sydney

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Wollongong

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The sig htings represen ted on this map are only indicative. T hey cannot be considered as a comprehensive invent ory an d may cont ain errors and omissions.

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Smoky Mouse pr e 1980 sightings Smoky Mouse post 1980 sightings Roads Riv ers

Map Compiled Fr om: Species Sightings from the NPWS Atlas of NSW Wildlife Database Roads and Riv ers data from AUSLIG

Copyright NSW National Par ks and Wildlife Service, September 1999
This map is not guaranteed to be fr ee from err or or omission The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Serv ice and its employees disclaim liability for any act done or omission made on the information in the map and any consequences of such acts or omissions 50 0 50 100 Kilometers

NPWS records of the Smoky Mouse in NSW

Melbourne and the coastal woodlands and heaths of eastern Gippsland. In the Brindabella Range, Australian Capital Territory and south-eastern NSW, individuals have been trapped but the extent of these colonies is unknown (Cockburn 1995). In 1993, evidence of occurrences in NSW were confirmed with six definite records from two sites in the Mt Poole area of Nungatta State Forest (Broome et al. in prep.). The species was trapped in Nullica State Forest in 1994 (Jurskis et al. 1997) and studied at this site in 1997/98 (Ford 1998a). Several additional sites, which may constitute part of a single meta-population, occur nearby in what is now South-east Forests National Park and in the adjacent Nullica State Forest (Ford 1998b). Extensive surveys within predicted areas throughout Kosciuszko and Namadgi National Parks have resulted in a further three

records from these areas (Ford 1998b, Broome et al. in prep.).

Recorded occurrences in conservation reserves
Kosciuszko NP, Namadgi NP, South-east Forests NP - Nullica Section (Broome et al. in prep.).

Habitat
The Smoky Mouse appears to prefer heathy ridgetops and slopes within sclerophyll forests, heathland and open forest from the coast to sub-alpine regions of up to 1800 m. Occasionally, individuals may be observed in adjacent wetter habitats such as fern gullies (Cockburn 1995; Lee 1995; Ford 1998b). Habitats are characterised by a diverse array of shrub species predominantly from the

Papillionaceae and Epacridaceae families. However, Acacia spp., Leptospermum spp., Xanthorrhoea spp.and trigger plants (Stylidium graminifolium ) also occur frequently in habitat areas (Cockburn 1995; Lee 1995; Ford 1998b).

Threats (summarised from Lee 1995; Broome
et al. in prep.; Ford 1998a, b; Smith 1995) • Loss of habitat through clearing, logging

and associated activities
• Inappropriate fire regimes, as too frequent

Ecology
During summer the Smoky Mouse forages for seeds from legume shrubs, fruits of epacrid species, flowers and invertebrates, including Bogong Moths. In winter and spring, when seeds are less abundant, they include a higher proportion of hypogeal (truffle-like) fungi in the diet (Cockburn 1995; Ford 1998a). It has been suggested that the species is dependent on post-fire succession for survival (Cockburn 1995) as the development of the heathy vegetation is strongly influenced by fire frequency and intensity (Menkhorst 1995). However, it appears to be associated more commonly with relatively stable and diverse heath communities, rather than areas that have undergone recent or frequent disturbance (Cockburn 1979; Broome et al. in prep.). A fire frequency of once in 20 years is sufficient to regenerate shrub species characteristic of the Smoky Mouse habitat (P. Catling, M. Austin, CSIRO pers. comm.). The preferred breeding habitat seems to be characterised by a high diversity of seed-bearing legumes and fruiting epacrids, with relatively deep, friable, sandy soils and good cover provided by rocks or vegetation (Cockburn 1983; Ford 1998a). Breeding commences in spring with females producing one or two litters, each of three to four young (Cockburn 1995; Ford 1998a). Older animals breed slightly earlier than younger ones and females often live to breed more than one season (Cockburn 1995). Recent evidence shows that they nest communally, potentially increasing their vulnerability to predation. Nesting burrows have been found in rocky localities among tree roots and under the skirts of Xanthorrhoea spp. (Ford 1998a, b; Broome et al. in prep.).

burning, eg. 4-7 years for hazard reduction, is likely to be deleterious to the shrub and hypogeal fungi resource • Predation by cats, foxes and dogs particularly if forestry or roading reduces cover and increases predator activity • Cattle and rabbit grazing resulting in the reduction of food resources and the depletion in shrub cover

Management (summarised from Broome et al.
in prep.)

• Further survey for the species, specifically in areas of potential habitat • Protection and maintenance of known or potential habitat, including the implementation of protection zones • Introduced predator control programme, targeting known high quality habitat and recently disturbed potential habitat • Prescribed burning and grazing regimes • which ensure the enhancement and maintenance of floristic and structural diversity of the ground cover

Recovery plans
NSW NPWS is preparing a recovery plan for this species.

Linda Broome/NPWS Smoky Mouse habitat

References
Broome L.S., McDonald T. and Ford F. D. in prep. Surveys and predicted distribution of the Smoky Mouse Pseudomys fumeus in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Cockburn A. 1979. The Ecology of Pseudomys species in South Eastern Australia. PhD. Thesis. Monash University, Victoria. Cockburn A. 1983. Smoky Mouse, in R Strahan. (Ed.) The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals. pp 413. Angus and Robertson, Sydney. Cockburn A. 1995. Smoky Mouse, in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. pp 598-599. Reed Books, Sydney. Ford F. D. 1998a. Ecology of the Smoky Mouse (Pseudomys fumeus) in New South Wales. Honours Thesis, Division of Botany and Zoology. Australian National University, ACT. Ford F. D. 1998b. The Smoky Mouse in the Nullica region and Kosciuszko National Park: Winter and Spring 1998. Threatened Species Unit, Southern Zone, NSW NPWS. Jurskis V. P., Hudson K. B. and Shiels R. J. 1997. Extension of the range of the Smoky Mouse, Pseudomys fumeus (Rodentia Muridae) into New South Wales with notes on habitat and detection methods. Australian Forest Research 60: 99-109. Lee A.K. 1995. The Action Plan for Australian Rodents. ANCA ESP Project No 130. Menkhorst, P. W. 1995. Smoky Mouse, in P. Menkhorst (Ed.) Mammals of Victoria: Distribution, Ecology and Conservation. pp 219-220. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. Menkhorst P.W. and Seebeck J.H. 1981. The distribution, habitat and status of Pseudomys fumeus Brazenor (Rodentia: Muridae). Australian Wildlife Research 8:87-96. Smith A. 1985. Draft options for assessment and mitigation of grazing impacts on protected and endangered fauna in State Forests. Dept. of Ecosystem Management, University of New England, Armidale. Watts C. H. S. and Aslin H. J. 1981. The Rodents of Australia. Angus and Robertson Publishers, Australia.

For further information contact
Threatened Species Unit, Southern Directorate Phone 02 6298 9700. General enquiries: 43 Bridge St Hurstville NSW 2220 Phone 1300 36 1967 or 02 9585 6333. Web site www.npws.nsw.gov.au

© September 1999. Important Disclaimer
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service disclaims any responsibility or liability in relation to anything done or not done by anyone in reliance upon the publication’ s content.

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