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Revised draft A Guide to the Use of Australian Native Mammals in Biomedical Sciences submission

B. Please provide contact details

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E. Specific comments
Specific comments: 
F. General comments

I commend the Working Committee members and the NHMRC on the production of this document (to which I contributed some information).  I hope the final product will be used extensively.  I provide a small number of comments below that I hope will be useful in finalising the document.

The coverage of taxa is very patchy and enigmatic. In some groups, such as possums, there is detail for almost every single species, yet for other groups, such as bats or rodents, there are whole sub-groups/genera that are not even mentioned, in the tables or elsewhere.  What are these Tables meant to convey?  I accept that there are sub-groups for which we have little or no information, but these need to be highlighted as such, not ignored.  I have generated a rough list of genera not covered in the tables at the end of this document.  I note that in an appropriate place in the text it is explained that dugongs and cetaceans are not covered in this document.

Page 3, Line 10  ‘Taxons’ is not a word – ‘Taxa’ is the plural of ‘taxon’

P15 and elsewhere         I find the list of species in the Tables to be rather enigmatic.  For some groups all species are listed separately, in other groups they are in genera or sub-groups, and in many cases, species are not included in the table, even as parts of sub-groups.  A good example is the fat tailed dunnart Sminthopsis crassicaudata, one of the most widely used laboratory marsupials, which doesn’t fit in any of the sub-groups or species in the table on pages 15 & 16. Whole genera containing multiple species, e.g. Planigale, Ningaui, are not there but should be.  NB there are four species of megabats that are not fruit bats/flying foxes that are not included, yet they have very different requirements to flying foxes or microbats.  Even if we have no information on husbandry, they need a mention. The lists of microbats and rodents are very short and many genera are not covered.

If the intention is to at least include all EPBC-listed species, then some species are still missing and some EPBC classifications are not up to date: eg. Brushtailed mulgara Vulnerable, northern brushtailed phascogale Vulnerable, various rodents.

P19         Health issues etc, Dasyurids.  My recollection of advice from [name removed by ONHMRC] is that meat fed to dasyurids must be kept frozen for at least a month beforehand to ensure disease agents are not transferred to the captive colony.

P46         the heading ‘Macropodids’ is incorrect – ‘Macropodoids’ or ‘Kangaroos, wallabies and rat kangaroos’

P57         consider asking [name and institution removed by ONHMRC] to include him as a person with expertise with musky rat kangaroos, since they are in a Family of their own.

P94         consider asking [name and institution removed by ONHMRC] and [name and institution removed by ONHMRC] to include them as individuals with expertise with small bats.

P108      Rock-rats (Zyzomys spp.) have very delicate skin that is easily torn and their tails will often drop off when handled.  I think a comment to this effect must be included in the capture/handling section and in the husbandry section.

P130      For the Northern Territory, the Animal Welfare Branch is the relevant part of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services.  Can this Branch’s name please be added to that listing?

Appendix I          need to include the acronym EPBC                         

Appendix V        Consider including Cryptosporidiosis, Leptospirosis, Leishmaniasis and Trypanosomes to the list of diseases/agents.

Appendix XII      The Territory Wildlife Park near Darwin has considerable expertise in the captive maintenance and breeding of northern tropical mammals and other animals.  I think they should be asked to add their contact details to this appendix and to some of the previous sections (particularly tropical macropods, rodents and bats).  N.B. none of the institutions currently listed in this appendix are based north of the Tropic of Capricorn.


Genera not covered by the taxa listed in the tables (my quick assessment, not exhaustive)

Planigale, Ningaui, Antechinomys, Dasykaluta
Most of Sminthopsis, Pseudantechinus

most of Potorous, Petrogale
half of Lagorchestes, Macropus

Macroglossus, Syconycteris, Nytimene

Micobats (including whole Families not represented)
Hipposideros, Saccolaimus, Taphozous, Tadarida, Chaerephon, Mormopterus, Chalinolobus, Pipistrellus, Murina, Kerivoula, Myotis, Miniopterus, Falsistrellus, Scoteanax, Scotorepens,
most of Rhinolophus, Vespedelus, Nyctopilus

Melomys, Uromys, Mesembriomys, Conilurus, Xeromys, Notomys, Zyzomys, Leggadina, Mastocomys, Pogonomys, Leporillus
most of Pseudomys, Rattus

Page reviewed: 24 April, 2014