Tag Archives: Western Australia

Lewinia pectoralis ssp. clelandi (Mathews)

Cleland’s Rail (Lewinia pectoralis ssp. clelandi)

Lewin’s Rail (Lewinia pectoralis (Temminck)) is a ca. 25 cm large bird found in Australia, New Guinea and some parts of the so-called Wallacea; at least eight subspecies are known to exists.

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The form discussed here, Cleland’s Rail, was endemic to a small region in the far south-west of Western Australia, where it inhabited dense vegetation around saline-, brackish- and freshwater wetlands. This form differed from the nominate (see photo below) by its larger size, its longer and deeper beak and by its breast plumage being clearer grey, with only small olive-buff feather tips.

Cleland’s Rail was probably always a rather rare form, it became finally extinct when its wetland habitats were destroyed, mainly through drainage and clearance burning for agriculture and settlement; the form was last seen in 1932.

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Photo: matthewlh
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/matthewlh
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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References: 

[1] Barry Taylor, Ber van Perlo: Rails: A Guide to the Rails, Crakes, Gallinules and Coots of the World. Yale University Press 1998

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edited: 17.02.2024

Tetratheca fasciculata Joy Thomps.

Cronin’s Tetratheca (Tetratheca fasciculata)  

Cronin’s Tetratheca was a small shrub about 20 cm tall with hairy shoots and pink flowers from the area around the town of Wagin in Western Australia. 

The species was last seen in 1895 and is now considered extinct.

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The photo below shows a congeneric species, the Crowd-leaved Tetratheca (Tetratheca confertifolia Steetz), which is probably more widespread throughout Western Australia.

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Crowd-leaved Tetratheca (Tetratheca confertifolia)

Photo: Melissa Doherty
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/melissadoherty
(public domain)

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edited: 15.08.2011

Leucopogon cryptanthus Benth.

Small-flowered Leucopogon (Leucopogon cryptanthus)

The Small-flowered Leucopogon was described in 1868; it was known from the south-west of Western Australia.

The species was described as follows.:

A slender, much-branched, apparently diffuse shrub, not exceeding 6 in., the branches pubescent. Leaves erect, linear or linear-lanceolate, tapering into a pungent point, rigid, concave, prominently ribbed, 1 to 3 lines long. Flowers few, very small and inconspicuous, in short spikes, solitary or clustered at the ends of the branches, forming little leafy cymes. Bracts similar to the leaves, and mostly exceeding the flowers; bracteoles acutely acuminate, more than half as long as the calyx. Sepals acutely acuminate, under 1 line long. Corolla rather shorter than the calyx, the lobes as long as the tube. Anther attached by the middle, oblong, obtuse, with very minute sterile tips or sometimes none. Hypogynous disk sinuate-lobed. Ovary 2-celled; style very short.” [1]

The species is now considered extinct.

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References:

[1] George Bentham; Ferdinand von Mueller: Flora Australiensis. Vol. 4. London: Lovell Reeve & Co. 1868

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edited: 17.02.2024

Lepidium drummondii Thell.

Drummond’s Scurvy Grass (Lepidium drummondii)

Drummond’s Scurvy Grass was described in 1906, it was restricted to the vicinity of the Swan River in Western Australia.

The species was last collected in 1846 and is now extinct.

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References:

[1] B. Dell; J. J. Havel; N. Malajczuk: The Jarrah Forest: A complex mediterranean ecosystem. Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

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edited: 16.09.2019

Acacia kingiana Maiden & Blakely

King’s Wattle (Acacia kingiana)

The King’s Wattle was described in 1928, it was endemic to Western Australia.

The species was a shrub of about 2 to 3 m height, like most of its kin it did not have leafes as a fuklly-grown plant but so-called phyllodes, leaf-shaped twigs, which in this species were about 0,1 cm long and 0,2 cm wide [which is a odd size in my opinion], and furthermore had yellow flowers.

The King’s Wattle is now most likely extinct.

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Two additional wattle species, Acacia mathuataensis A. C. Sm. from Vanua Levu, Fiji and Acacia prismifolia E. Pritz. from Western Australia were formerly thought to be extinct as well, but were both rediscovered in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

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edited: 06.02.2020

Bothriembryon whitleyi Iredalei

Whitley’s Bothriembryon Snail (Bothriembryon whitleyi)

This land snail species was described in 1939, it appears to be known exclusively from empty shells, some of which are of Late Pleistocene age while others are certainly of Holocene age.

The species is thought to be extinct; however, some of the shells in the Western Australian Museum collection, collected between 1950 and 1970, appear freshly dead, thus some malacologists suggest that this species might still exist somewhere in Western Australia. [1]

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Photo: Loxley Fedec
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/npk
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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References:

[1] Corey S. Whisson; Lisa Kirkendale; Mikael Siversson: The presumed extinct Bothriembryon whitleyi Irelade, 1939, remains elusive. The Malacological Society of Australasia Newsletter 163: 1 & 5-6. 2017

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edited: 06.02.2024

Amytornis textilis ssp. carteri (Mathews)

Dirk Hartog Island Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis textilis ssp. carteri 

The Dirk Hartog Island Thick-billed Grasswren was endemic to Dirk Hartog island off Western Australia, where it inhabited dense Acacia bushland.  

The birds disappeared due to predation by feral cats and were last recorded in 1916 [or 1918 according to which source].  

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birds on bottom and top; together with Southwestern Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis textilis ssp. macrourus (Gould))

Depiction from: ‘Gregory M. Mathews: The Birds of Australia. London: Witherby & Co. 1910-1927’

(public domain)

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edited: 22.03.2018

Bettongia pusilla McNamarra

Nullabor Dwarf Bettong (Bettongia pusilla)

The Nullabor Dwarf Bettong was described in 1997 based on subfossil skeletal remains that were found in caves on the Nullabor Plain, an large arid desert region in southern Australia.

The species apparently disappeared shortly after the arrival of European settlers in the region, who brought with them cats and foxes which preyed upon the native mammals and still do so up to this day.

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The native people of the Pilbara region allegedly have two names for a very small kangaroo species, weelba respectively wirlpa, which may have originally been used for this species. [1]

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References:

[1] Chris Johnson: Australia’s Mammal Extinctions: a 50000 year history. Cambridge University Press 2006

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Photo from: ‘J. A. McNamarra: Some smaller macropod fossils of South Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 117: 97-106. 1997’

(under creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

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edited: 29.05.2019

Amytornis textilis ssp. giganturus (Milligan)

Northern Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis textilis ssp. giganturus 

The Northern Thick-billed Grasswren was endemic to Western Australia, it was originally discovered near the town of Mount Magnet, it was also found near the town of Wiluna and around Lake Carnegie, where it inhabited the salt-tolerant vegetation.  

The Northern Thick-billed Grasswren was not found since 1908 [or 1909 according to which source] and is now extinct.  

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birds on bottom, left and right; together with Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus ssp. modestus (North))

Depiction from: ‘Gregory M. Mathews: The Birds of Australia. London: Witherby & Co. 1910-1927’

(public domain) 

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edited: 22.03.2018

Perameles eremiana Spencer

Desert Bandicoot (Perameles eremiana)

The Desert Bandicoot, described in 1897, was restricted to the arid center of Australia; the natives there knew it by many names including karitjarrikarl-karlkililpinganngarrpanyirnmiwalilya or warralyarri.

The nocturnal and flesh-eating species inhabited dry, sandy areas covered with spinifex (Spinifex spp.) and other tussock grasses; it fed upon beetle larvae, termites and ants, especially honey-pot ants.

The Desert Bandicoot disappeared most likely due to predation by feral cats and Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes (L.)) introduced from Europe; the last sighting took place in 1943 in Western Australia, according to some natives it may have survived into the 1960s. [1]

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References:

[1] Andrew A. Burbridge; Ken A. Johnson; Phillip J. Fuller; R. I. Southgate: Aboriginal knowledge of the mammals of the central deserts of Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 15: 9-39. 1988

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Photo: David Staples
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/specimens/121333
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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edited: 24.02.2024

Dasyornis broadbenti ssp. litoralis (Milligan)

Western Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyornis broadbenti ssp. litoralis)

The Western Rufous Bristlebird, a slightly smaller subspecies of the Rufous Bristlebird, was discovered in 1901 at a place named Ellensbrook near the Margaret River in Western Australia, it was described as a new species in 1902 based on a single specimen. [1]

The bird inhabited an extremely restricted range, an about 50 km long stretch of coastal scrub between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Mentelle in the south-western part of Western Australia, where it inhabited dense, stunted shrubland on cliffs and dunes.

The last reliable record took place in 1908, when a second specimen was collected; since then there have been some unconfirmed sightings only and the Western Rufous Bristlebird has finally been listed as extinct in 1999. The reason for its extinction is thought to be the destruction of its shrubland habitat which was repeatedly burnt in the early 20th century to create pasture.

Everything that we know today about the life of this bird comes from the notices of its discoverer.:

The food of the bird, as revealed by dissection, consisted wholly of land snails, those marine-like looking forms which are found in abundance on the coastal limestone hills, apparently lifeless in hot weather, but full of vitality after a shower of rain. One snail, with the shell perfect, was found in the stomach.” [1]

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References:

[1] Alex Wm. Milligan: Description of a new Bristle Bird (Sphenura). The Emu 1: 67-69. 1902

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Depiction from: ‘John Gould: The Birds of Australia. Supplement. London: printed by Taylor and Francis, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street. published by the author 1869’

(public domain)

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edited: 18.05.2022

Microcarbo serventyorum van Tets

Serventy’s Cormorant (Microcarbo serventyorum)  

This species was described in 1994 based on subfossil remains that were recovered from a peat swamp near Bullsbrook, a suburb of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, Australia. [1]  

The species was apparently closely related, yet not identical with the Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos (Vieillot)) (see photo), which is still quite common in parts of Australia today.  

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References:  

[1] G. F. van Tets: An extinct new species of cormorant (Phalacrocoracidae, Aves) from a Western Australian peat swamp. Records of the South Australian Museum 27(2): 135–138. 1994  

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Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos (Vieillot)) 

Photo: J. J. Harrison

(under creative commons license (3.0)) 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 

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edited: 06.11.2017