Volume 1B Mammalia

Awarded Whitley Medal   for Best Book on Natural History of Australian Animals for 1989.

Preface/Acknowledgements

The mammalian fauna of Australia is distinctive. Only on the continental island of Australia and the smaller island of New Guinea do representatives occur of all three extant major groups of mammals. Only on the Australian continent, however, do the marsupials exhibit such diversity of species and numbers of individuals. Two of the extant species of monotremes are found in Australia. Indeed, the usual perception of the mammalian fauna of Australia emphasises the monotremes and marsupials. This perception, no matter how fascinating are these two groups of mammals, frequently ignores the abundance and diversity of other significant components of the Australian fauna: the rodents, the bats and the marine mammals.

Until shortly after the turn of the 20th century, much of the formal study of the Australian mammals was carried out by non-Australians, and specimens (especially nominotypical material) were deposited in non-Australian collections. Despite the impediments of the often difficult and expensive access to these collections and to those early studies of Australian mammals published elsewhere, mammalogy is firmly established in quality and quantity. The historical emergence of Australian mammalogy is clearly evident in the Zoological Catalogue of Australia Volume 5 Mammalia.

Although many excellent works have been published that treat various portions or aspects of the mammalian fauna of Australia, this volume represents the first attempt the deal with the general biology of the entire fauna in a comprehensive manner. The decision was made by the Editorial Committee to place the emphasis on the non-feral portion of the mammalian fauna and to deal with those species that have been recently introduced and established in feral populations only in an Australian context. Each Chapter deals with a taxonomic unit — the Family level in this instance — and each follows a specified form designed to provide an overview and summary of the available information on all aspects of the biology of that unit. Chapters dealing with broader subjects also are included. The sequence in which the families appear and nomenclature employed follow the Zoological Catalogue of Australia Volume 5 Mammalia.

The Fauna of Australia is intended to reach the broadest possible audience. The hazard is ever-present that the specialist will find the text too general and the generalist will find it too specific. The generalist may also conclude that a particular body of knowledge is complete while the specialist may see too clearly the gaps of coverage and knowledge. There are no easy solutions to these issues. In this version of the Mammalia, we have retained the same level of information, but have aimed to broaden the readership in several ways. Common names have been introduced throughout the volume in preference to more formal scientific names. Special terms which do not appear in standard dictionaries or are not readily available outside of specialist texts, are defined or described briefly in the glossary, and the breadth of information on comparative form of Australian mammals is increased by additional black and white illustrations of cetaceans and colour illustrations for terrestrial families.

The editorial staff at the Australian Biological Resources Study express their appreciation to all the authors and illustrators who contributed to this volume. We are grateful to members of the Editorial Committee of the ABRS for their guidance in developing the present version. We thank Academic Press, the Australian Museum, L.Broom, B.Baker, C.Chandler, G.Chapman, CSIRO Publishing, CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology, T.Dawson, M.Evans, M.Gillam, D.Jew, K.Johnston, J Libke, L.Lim, D.Moro, B.Nolan, T.Norton, Pergamon Press, the Queensland Museum; B.Richardson, K.Richardson, G.Ross, P.Shaughnessy, E.Slater, C.Trainor, P.Temple-Smith, WA Conservation and Land Management, J.Williams, J.Wombey and the Zoological Society of London for access to and use of photographs used in this online version of the 1989 edition. We thank also members of the editorial team who prepared the volume for presentation, particularly I.Hallam, T.Helmling, G.Ross, H.Rumpff and P.Wallace, and to C.Chandler for advice and assistance in web publication.

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About this book

Book series

Fauna of Australia Volume 1B

Publishers

AGPS Canberra

Year

1989

Editors

D.W.Walton
B.J.Richardson

ISBN-10

0 644 06056 5

ISBN-13

978 0 644 06056 1

Size

297 × 210 mm (A4)

Number of pages

x + 401–1227 pages
index

Binding

Hardcover
section stitched

Illustrations

1 colour plate
312 black and white plates (including maps)
illustrated key

Available from

This book is available from bookshops which stock faunal titles or CSIRO Publishing  

Download this book

Volume 1B Mammalia is available for download as a series of PDF files

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