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92. Black-spotted Cuscus

Spilocuscus rufoniger


The black-spotted cuscus is a marsupial known only from northern parts of the island of New Guinea.

They have characteristic vertically split pupils that are useful for being nocturnal, and arched front claws and a grasping tail helpful in their arboreal (live in trees) lifestyle. It is thought to have been driven to the brink of extinction by increasing human pressure on its forest habitat. One of the largest species of cuscus, and of the family Phalangeridae, this species is targeted by hunters throughout its range, who are the only known predators of the black-spotted cuscus. This hunting pressure, together with large-scale habitat conversion for agriculture and settlements throughout its range has drastically reduced numbers, and wiped out the species from many parts of its former range.

  • Order: Diprotodontia
  • Family: Phalangeridae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 33-64cm
  • Weight: 6-7kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.15 (?)
ED Score: 9.76 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Widespread, though patchily distributed, in northern New Guinea (Papua, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). It has been recorded from sea level to 1,200m.

Habitat and Ecology

Black-spotted cuscus occur in primarily lowland and lower montane tropical forests, also sometimes being found in secondary forest. Very little is known about the ecology of the black-spotted cuscus. They are arboreal, probably nocturnal, and their diet consists of leaves and fruit.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Urban development Industrial development Tourism Volcanoes Earthquakes Avalanches Habitat change Droughts Extreme temperatures Extreme weather Crops Wood plantations Livestock Fossil fuel Mining Roads/Rail Utility lines Hunting Gathering Logging Fishing Recreation Wars Work Fire Dams Ecosystem changes Invasive species Native species Introduced genetic material Disease Wastewater Industry Agriculture Garbage Air pollution Energy

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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The Search for Attenborough’s Long-beaked Echidna

  • Locations: The Cyclops Mountains, Indonesia
  • Active dates: 2007 - ongoing
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