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Wallaby

From Academic Kids

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Red-necked-Wallaby.jpg
Red-necked Wallaby

A wallaby (sometimes spelled wallabee) is any of about 30 species of macropod (family macropodidae). Essentially, a wallaby is any macropod that isn't considered large enough to be a kangaroo and has not been given some other name. There is no fixed dividing line. In general, a wallaby is smaller and has a stockier build than a kangaroo. Very small forest-dwelling wallabies are known as pademelons.

Wallabies are widely distributed across Australia, particularly in more remote, heavily timbered, or rugged areas, less so on the great semi-arid plains that are better suited to the larger, leaner, and more fleet-footed kangaroos. A small colony of introduced wallabies can also be found near Waimate in southern New Zealand.

Like possums, wallabies are not a distinct biological group. Nevertheless they fall into several broad categories. Typical wallabies like the Agile Wallaby, the Black Wallaby and the Red-necked Wallaby are most closely related to the kangaroos and, size aside, look very similar. These are the ones most frequently seen, certainly in the southern states.

Rock wallabies, rather like the goats of the northern hemisphere, specialise in rugged terrain and have modified feet designed to grip rock with skin friction rather than dig into soil with large claws. There are at least 15 species and the relationship between several of them is poorly understood. Several are endangered. Captive rock wallaby breeding programs like the one at Healesville Sanctuary have had some success and a small number have recently been released into the wild.

The Banded Hare Wallaby is thought to be the last remaining member of the once-numerous subfamily Sthenurinae, and although once common across southern Australia, is now restricted to two islands off the Western Australian coast which are free of introduced predators.

The three nailtail wallabies (one extinct) and the four typical hare-wallabies make up another group, and New Guinea, which was until fairly recent geological times a part of mainland Australia, has at least 5 species of New Guinea forest wallaby.

As mentioned above, the term wallaby is ill-defined and can mean just about any macropod of moderate size. In consequence, the listing below is arbitrary. For a comprehensive list, see macropod.

  • Banded Hare-Wallaby, Lagostrophus fasciatus
  • Agile Wallaby: Macropus agilis
  • Black-striped Wallaby: Macropus dorsalis
  • Tammar Wallaby: Macropus eugenii
  • Toolache Wallaby: Macropus greyii (extinct)
  • Western Brush Wallaby: Macropus irma
  • Parma Wallaby: Macropus parma
  • Whiptail Wallaby: Macropus parryi
  • Red-necked Wallaby or Bennetts Wallaby: Macropus rufogrisseus
  • Black Wallaby or Swamp Wallaby: Wallabia bicolor
  • Allied Rock Wallaby: Petrogale assimilis
  • Short-eared Rock Wallaby: Petrogale brachyotis
  • Cape York Rock Wallaby: Petrogale coenensis
  • Godman's Rock Wallaby: Petrogale godmani
  • Unadorned Rock Wallaby: Petrogale inornata
  • Herbert's Rock Wallaby: Petrogale herberti
  • Black-footed Rock Wallaby: Petrogale lateralis
  • Mareeba Rock Wallaby: Petrogale mareeba
  • Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby: Petrogale penicillata
  • Proserpine Rock wallaby: Petrogale persephone
  • Rothschild's Rock wallaby: Petrogale rothschildi
  • Sharman's Rock wallaby: Petrogale sharmani
  • Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby: Petrogale xanthopus
  • Bridled Nailtail Wallaby: Onychogalea fraenata
  • Crescent Nailtail Wallaby: Onychogalea lunata (extinct)
  • Northern Nailtail Wallaby: Onychogalea unguifera
  • Central Hare Wallaby: Lagorchestes asomatus
  • Spectacled Hare Wallaby: Lagorchestes conspicillatus
  • Rufous Hare Wallaby: Lagorchestes hirsutus
  • Eastern Hare Wallaby: Lagorchestes leporides
  • Lesser Forest Wallaby, Dorcopsis vanheurni
  • Papuan Forest Wallaby, Dorcopsis macleayi
  • Brown Dorcopsis, Dorcopsis veterum
  • White-striped Dorcopsis, Dorcopsis hageni
  • Black Dorcopsis, Dorcopsis atrata

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