A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review

Authors: Harry A Moore, Judy A Dunlop, Chris J Jolly, Ella Kelly, John C Z Woinarski, Euan G Ritchie, Scott Burnett, Stephen van Leeuwen, Leonie E Valentine, Mitchell A Cowan, and Dale G Nimmo.

Published in: Australian Mammalogy


In response to Australia’s current extinction crisis, substantial research efforts have been targeted towards some of the most imperilled species. One such species is the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), a marsupial predator that has recently suffered substantial declines in range and is now listed as Endangered.

We conducted a systematic review of all literature relevant to the conservation and ecology of northern quolls. We reviewed 143 studies, including research articles, government and industry reports, theses, and books, and quantified research effort in terms of topic, location, and publication period. We then summarised research relevant to northern quoll taxonomy, genetics, distribution, habitat associations, diet, reproduction, movement, threats, management, and Indigenous knowledge. Research effort was higher between 2011 and 2020 than the previous four decades combined.

Northern quolls in the Northern Territory were the most studied, followed by the Pilbara, the Kimberley, and Queensland populations. Most studies focused on northern quoll distribution and habitat, management, and threats – primarily cane toads, predation, and fire.

We conclude with a non-exhaustive list of ten future research directions. If pursued, these future research directions should provide information critical to managing and conserving northern quolls.

Moore HA, Dunlop JA, Jolly CJ, Kelly E, Woinarski JCZ, Ritchie EG, Burnett S, van Leeuwen S, Valentine LE, Cowan MA, Nimmo DG (2021) A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review. Australian Mammalogy PDF DOI