National recovery plan for marsupial moles (Notoryctes typhlops and N. caurinus), 2005–2010
Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment, November 2006
About the recovery plan
Marsupial moles have been known to science for over a century, and to indigenous peoples for many thousands of years, but they remain amongst the least known and elusive animals in Australia (Benshemesh & Johnson 2003). Occurring in remote areas and characterised by extreme morphological specialisation, an elusive nature and extraordinary habits, marsupial moles continue to intrigue people of all ages and backgrounds.
Marsupial moles have a head and body length of up to 140 mm and weigh from 30 g to 60 g. They show the typical characteristics of fossorial mammals including a tubular body form, an absence of ear pinnae, heavily keratinised skin on the snout, a reduced tail, and short dense fur. In common with most burrowing marsupials, the pouch opens posteriorly as a protection against the incursion of soil. They are the most fossorial of the marsupials, only rarely venturing to the surface.
Two species are currently recognised, Notoryctes typhlops or Southern Marsupial Mole from central Australia, and Notoryctes caurinus or Northern Marsupial Mole from north western Australia. Given these unimaginative common names for these extraordinary species, Maxwell et al. (1996) proposed the adoption of Aboriginal names: Itjaritjari for N. typhlops, and Kakarratul for N. caurinus. These names have been widely accepted.
This national Recovery Plan for Notoryctes typhlops and N. caurinus, details the species' distribution and biology, conservation status, threats, and recovery objectives and actions necessary to ensure its long-term survival.