Agile antechinus

The agile antechinus (Antechinus agilis) is a species of small carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae. It is found in Australia.

Agile antechinus[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Dasyuromorphia
Family: Dasyuridae
Genus: Antechinus
A. agilis
Binomial name
Antechinus agilis
Dickman, Parnaby, Crowther & King 1998
Agile antechinus range


The agile antechinus was long considered to be a form of the brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), and was only recognised as a distinct species after a study of genetic variation within the brown antechinus in 1980.[3] However, it was not formally described until 1998.


The agile antechinus is nearly indistinguishable from the brown antechinus, but it is slightly smaller and its fur has a more greyish tinge.[4] It feeds mostly on invertebrates, including beetles, spiders and cockroaches, but may also devour small lizards and soft berries. The species has been known to enter torpor in response to shortages of food.[3] Like all antechinuses, the agile antechinus has a short and violent breeding season, after which the males all die.[5] The females give birth after a 27-day gestation.[3] Groups of up to 20 have been known to nest together.[3]

Distribution and habitat

The agile antechinus inhabits wet or moist forest in the southeastern corner of Australia.[4] The species is widely abundant, although it has been reduced in areas due to forest clearing, the instigation of plantations, harvesting, controlled burning and the introduction of the cat and the red fox.[3] Despite these threats, there is no indication that the species is at all threatened.[3]


  1. Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. Dickman, C.; Lunney, D.; Menkhorst, P. (2016). "Antechinus agilis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T1590A21946586. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T1590A21946586.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  3. Dickman, C. R. (1995). "Agile Antechinus". In Strahan, Ronald (ed.). The Mammals of Australia. Angus & Robertson. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-7301-0484-2.
  4. Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 56.
  5. Shimmin, Glenn A., David A. Taggart, and Peter D. Temple-Smith. "Mating behaviour in the agile antechinus Antechinus agilis (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)." Journal of Zoology 258.1 (2002): 39–48.
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