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Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 31(6)

Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. I. Home range size and movements

M. L. Pope A B, D. B. Lindenmayer A, R. B. Cunningham A

A Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
B Current address: State Forests of New South Wales, Tumut, NSW 2720, Australia.
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This paper examines home-range attributes of 40 greater gliders (Petauroides volans) in five patches of remnant eucalypt forest surrounded by stands of radiata pine (Pinus radiata) near Tumut in south-eastern Australia. Fixed-kernel smoothing methods were used to estimate home-range size for P. volans. For males, home-range size varied from 1.38–4.10 ha (mean = 2.6 ± 0.8 ha, n = 12) and was significantly larger (P < 0.05) than for females (1.26–2.97 ha, mean = 2.0 ± 0.6 ha, n = 11). Home-range size increased significantly with increasing patch size and reduced patch population density. Thus, small patches had more animals per unit area with smaller home ranges and greater home-range overlap.

Our findings illustrate flexibility in the use of space by P. volans. Such results have not previously been reported for P. volans or any other species of arboreal marsupial. Considerable home-range overlap (at 95th percentile isopleth level) was observed between male and female P. volans. Pairs of females also exhibited home-range overlap. Males tended to maintain home ranges exclusive of other males, although some shared common areas. Contrary to the large variations observed in home-range area, core areas (50th isopleth) remained relatively constant, regardless of patch size, population density or sex. This may indicate that core areas are an essential requirement for individuals and resources they contain cannot be shared with congeners.

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