The rufous hare-wallaby (Lagorchestes hirsutus) is a small wallaby found in Australia. It is also known by its Western Desert name mala. It used to be found widely across the western half of Australia, but is now only found in Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay. It is currently classified as a vulnerable species.
|Mammals of Australia, Vol. II Plate 57|
|Rufous hare-wallaby range|
(blue — native, red — introduced)
The rufous hare-wallaby is a nocturnal herbivore that eats herbs, leaves and seeds. It is usually solitary, meaning that it lives alone. The species was first described by John Gould in The Mammals of Australia (1844). It is currently being reintroduced to mainland Australia, to the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory. Four distinct groups of this species have been described as subspecies:
- Lagorchestes hirsutus hirsutus, now extinct
- Lagorchestes hirsutus bernieri, only found on Bernier Island
- Lagorchestes hirsutus dorreae, only found on Dorre Island.
- The fourth is an unnamed subspecies that is extinct in the wild. It was originally discovered in the Tanami Desert, and was once widespread across the centre of Australia. The only existing members of this group have been moved to conservation reserves in Western Australia.
- Groves, Colin (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds) (ed.). Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: editors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text (link)
- Richards, J., Morris, K., Friend, T. & Burbidge, A. (2008). "Lagorchestes hirsutus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 28 December 2008.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link) Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as vulnerable
- Menkhorst, Peter (2001). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford University Press. p. 108.
- Mala Reintroduction Factsheet. environment.gov.au