Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps


Compiler and date details

December 2010 - Updated by S. Jackson, c/- Queensland Museum, Brisbane, following Van Dyck & Strahan (2008)

31 December 1998 - J.A. Mahoney & B.J. Richardson (1986); updated by Barry J. Richardson (1999), Centre for Biostructural and Biomolecular Research, University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury


The Muridae, a most ubiquitous family of rats and mice, is cosmopolitan. Several species are commensal with man and the now cosmopolitan distribution of the family is directly related to this commensal relationship. Murids may be terrestrial, arboreal, burrowing, partially aquatic, herbivorous, frugivorous, omnivorous, carnivorous, nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular. The dental formula is 1/1, 0/0, 0/0, 2,3/2,3 = 12 or 16. The incisors grow continuously and are chisel-shaped. The feet are pentadactyl though the pollux is greatly reduced. Typically, the tail is well covered with hair among Australian species.

All Australian native rodents are murids and come from two subfamilies, the 'old endemics' of the Hydromyinae and the 'new endemics,' plus recent immigrants, of the Murinae. Four murids, all commensals with man, are recent introductions: Rattus rattus, Rattus norvegicus, Rattus exulans and Mus musculus. Two other rodents of the family Sciuridae, Funambulus pennant, from India and North Americian Sciurus carolinensis, have also been introduced. These two sciurid species have had little success in becoming established as natural populations and, therefore, are not included in this catalogue.


General References

Firth, R.S.C. 2003. Activity range and den trees of the brush-tailed rabbit-rat on Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory, Australia. pp. 99-102 in Singleton, G.R., Hinds, L.A., Krebs, C.K. & Spratt, D.M. (eds). Rats, Mice and People: Rodent Biology and Management. Canberra : Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Lee, A.K. 1995. The action plan for Australian rodents. Australian Nature Conservation Agency Endangered Species Program Project. 62 pp.

Watts, C.H.S., Baverstock, P.R., Birrell, J. & Kreig, M. 1992. Phylogeny of the Australian rodents (Muridae): a molecular approach using microcomplement fixation of albumin. Australian Journal of Zoology 40: 81-90

Watts, C.H.S. & Aslin, H.J. 1981. The Rodents of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson xii 321 pp. 16 pls.

Watts, C.H.S. & Kemper, C.M. 1989. Muridae. pp. 939-956 in Walton, D.W. & Richardson, B.J. (eds). Fauna of Australia. Mammalia. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 1B 827 pp.

Williams, R. 1990. Rodents. pp. 185-190 in Hand, S.J. (ed.). Care and Handling of Australian Native Animals. Chipping Norton : Surrey Beatty.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
10-Dec-2010 10-Dec-2010 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)