Halmaturus mastersii Krefft, 1871

Parnaby, Harry & Gill, Anthony C., 2021, Mammal type specimens in the Macleay Collections, University of Sydney, Zootaxa 4975 (2), pp. 201-252 : 231

publication ID


publication LSID




persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Halmaturus mastersii Krefft, 1871


Halmaturus mastersii Krefft, 1871

Mammals of Australia, footnote to text on unnumbered page, accompanying unnumbered plate of Black-striped Wallaby. (November or December 1871) .

Current name. Swamp Wallaby Wallabia bicolor mastersii ( Krefft, 1871) following Jackson & Groves (2015).

Taxonomic status. Species status accepted by many authors prior to Iredale & Troughton (1934) who relegated it to a northern subspecies of W. bicolor ( Desmarest, 1804) , a decision subsequently adopted by many taxonomists. Current status unresolved, but recognised as a subspecies by some authors. Jackson & Groves (2015) tentatively recognised this subspecies but remarked that the validity of all subspecies of W. bicolor remain unclear.

Material.? syntype. M.398, sex not recorded, probably female from the skin, mounted skin with skull in situ. The original Masters tag is not attached to the specimen. The MAMU 1960s Mammal Register indicates the original tag stated: “ Macropus ualabatus, var. mastersi, Gayndah Queensland ” but the original tag has not been sighted. The juvenile skin currently labelled M.398 has slightly bleached fur and is most likely W. bicolor . Although the skin is not inconsistent with being the northern form of W. bicolor , this cannot be conclusively determined (Dr Mark Eldridge, pers. comm. 2020). It appears that the tags of skin mounts M.398 and M.397 have become muddled. The original Masters tags have been removed from both mounts. M.397 was listed as W. bicolor from Port Hacking (NSW) when assigned a registration number during the 1960s but a species assignment of the skin currently labelled M.397 is difficult as it could be the juvenile of several macropodid species (Dr Mark Eldridge, pers. comm. 2020).

Type locality. “ Queensland districts at Burnett and other rivers” ( Krefft 1871) .

Comments. Circumstantial evidence implicates this specimen as a possible syntype but this remains uncertain because neither the collector nor collection date are known. It might have been collected after publication of Krefft’s book. The only specimen of “ var. mastersii ” listed in the MAMU 1890s Catalogue is a young female stuffed skin. Krefft (1871) stated that Masters had “lately” obtained a series of specimens of this entity (including young animals) from the Burnett River. Perhaps this refers to Masters’s third trip to that region during August and September 1870, during which he stayed at Gayndah (on the Burnett River), but he also collected in the region during 1865 and 1867 and was employed by the AM on all three trips ( Whitley 1971). Krefft established this taxon in a brief footnote and, although he had a syntype series, his type specimens have remained undefined. Parnaby et al. (2017) identified several likely syntypes in the AM. Although the collector of M.398 is unknown, Masters is an obvious possibility given that he collected the taxon at Gayndah. Further, Masters collected for his private collection and sold mammal specimens to Macleay while employed by Krefft at the AM ( Whitley 1971).