A major update to THE reference book for Australian mammals is out now! “Strahan’s Mammals of Australia” provides accessible and up-to-date information on our unique mammal fauna.

The much-awaited Fourth Edition of “Strahan’s Mammals of Australia” has just been published and is now available for purchase (online and at the Australian Museum shop)! At almost 850 pages, this weighty tome provides a comprehensive and up-to-date summary of what is currently known about each of the 400+ mammal species found in Australia and its surrounding waters.

Book cover of Strahan's Mammals of Australia, Fourth Edition.
Book cover of Strahan's Mammals of Australia, Fourth Edition. Image: New Holland Publishers
© New Holland Publishers

Australia’s mammal fauna is incredibly unique. Most Australian species are found nowhere else in the world, and it is only in our part of the globe that representatives of all three living mammal lineages (monotremes, marsupials, eutherians) coexist. Unusually, marsupials dominate select ecosystems and ecological niches in Australia, providing remarkable examples of convergence evolution with eutherian mammals on other continents. Often overshadowed by our fascinating monotreme and marsupial fauna, Australia also has spectacular and remarkable radiations of native rodents and bats, which deserve much greater attention and appreciation. In addition to our native mammals – of which there are over 380 species – Australia hosts populations of at least 23 introduced mammal species, many of which have significant impacts on the local species.

What is currently known about each of these species is expertly, succinctly, and accessibly summarised in this new book. The introduction to each major taxonomic group provides characteristics of these groups including the features and biology that unite them. Also included is an updated distribution map, photograph and additional reading for each species.

While some may think we already know almost everything about our mammals, this book proves otherwise. Much has changed from the Third Edition, published in 2008, including the addition of over 20 new species. There have also been species extinctions, significant changes in abundance and distributions (both positive and negative), and much hard-won new knowledge about ecology, reproduction and behaviour has been synthesised and incorporated. It also highlights what we continue to not know about our mammals. This book will be the go-to reference point for any question regarding Australian mammals for years to come.

At least eight Australian Museum staff and Research Associates were delighted to contribute over 70 species accounts and introductory sections to this landmark publication. In addition, the Museum’s Dr Steve Jackson served as Section Consultant for the possums and Dr Mark Eldridge as Section Consultant for the macropods. All contributions highlight the depth of expertise that resides in Museum staff and collections.

A huge congratulations go to the tireless editors, Dr Andrew Baker (Queensland University of Technology) and Dr Ian Gynther (Queensland Department of Environment and Science) for successfully wrangling over 320 authors, procuring hundreds of new photographs, and expertly checking and massaging the text to ensure it is accessible to the general reader.

Dr Mark Eldridge, Principal Research Scientist and Group Manager, Terrestrial Vertebrates, Australian Museum.

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