Western Long-beaked Echidna

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Western Long-beaked Echidna
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Monotremata
Family: Tachyglossidae
Genus: Zaglossus
Species: Z. bruijni
Binomial name
Zaglossus bruijni
(Peters and Doria, 1876)

The Western Long-beaked Echidna (Zaglossus bruijni) is one of the four living echidnas and one of three species of Zaglossus that live in New Guinea. Fossils of this species have also been found in Australia. As Tachyglossus bruijni, this is the type species of Zaglossus.

The Western Long-beaked Echidna lives above 1300m and up to 4000m above sea level. It lives in alpine meadow and humid forests in the mountains. Unlike the Short-beaked Echidna which eats ants and termites the Long-beaked species eats earthworms. The Long-beaked Echidna is also larger that the Short-beaked species. It reached up to 16.5 kilograms, the snout is longer and turns downward. It is difficult to see the spines in the long fur. It can be told apart from the other Zaglossus species by the number of claws on the front and back feet. It has three (rarely four) claws.

The IUCN has listed it as an endangered species. Its population has been decreased by reduced habitat because of human activities and hunting. The Long-beaked Echidna is a delicacy. Although hunting the species has been banned by the Indonesian and Papua New Guinean governments, traditional hunting is permitted.

In February of 2006, an expedition led by Conservation International found a population of the mammals as part of what they described as a "Lost world" of wildlife in the Foja Mountains of Papua Province, Indonesia.[1]

Platypuses and echidnas are the only known mammal species to lay eggs.

References[change | change source]

  • Augee, M and Gooden, B. 1993. Echidnas of Australia and New Guinea. Australian National History Press ISBN 978-0-86840-046-4
  • Flannery, T.F. and Groves, C.P. 1998 A revision of the genus Zaglossus (Monotremata, Tachyglossidae), with description of new species and subspecies. Mammalia, 62(3): 367-396