The central rock-rat is a nocturnal, terrestrial rodent with large ears, prominent eyes and a stout build (Watts & Aslin 1981). The weight is 70−150 g and the body grows to 14 cm long (Nano 2008). It has long, yellow-brown fur on the upperside of the body and has cream to white fur on the underside (Watts & Aslin 1981). The tail is slightly longer than the head and body, is densely furred and fattened at its base (Watts & Aslin 1981), with a distinctive tuft at the tip (Nano 2008).
Central Rock-rat, Antina |
Status: Critically Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Zyzomys pedunculatus
Climate change Increased potential The impact of climate change on Australia s arid zone within temperatures (future) the next 20 years is projected to result in increased average and reduced temperatures; increased numbers of high temperature days; rainfall an increased number and length of heatwaves (Hughes 2003 Bastin 2014); and reduced average rainfall (Hennessy et al.; 2004).
Given the potential for interaction between wildfire and cat predation (McGregor et al.; 2014); as well as the short term removal of food resources; landscape scale wildfires (e.g. hundreds of square kilometres) are also likely to impact the central rock rat.
This susceptibility may increase in the years following a wildfire event when vegetation groundcover has been eliminated or reduced (McDonald et al.; 2017a).
While buffel grass occurs in comparatively low density in quartzite range habitat; where the majority of rock rat records occur; the weed and its interaction with fire regimes may prevent the natural spread of the species during irruptive phases of the population cycle; preventing recolonisation and genetic exchange (McDonald et al.; 2017a).
These changes are likely to lead to longer periods between resource pulses and more periods of extreme fire danger; which may impact the central rock rat s ability to persist in the MacDonnell Ranges.