Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Home-range use by the brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa) (Marsupialia) in high-quality, spatially limited habitat

Rodney van der Ree, Todd R. Soderquist and Andrew F. Bennett

Wildlife Research 28(5) 517 - 525
Published: 30 November 2001


Nine phascogales (7 females, 2 males) were radio-tracked between March and July 1999 to investigate the spatial organisation of this species in spatially limited habitat near Euroa, Victoria. In this area, approximately 3.6% of the original woodland vegetation remains after 150 years of agricultural clearing. Most wooded habitat is confined to narrow linear strips along roads and streams. However, these remnants are on fertile soils and, because they have not experienced intensive harvesting, the density of large old trees is over 10 times that found in nearby State Forests and Parks. Female phascogales were monitored for 13–38 days over periods of 5–15 weeks. The size of home ranges of females was 2.3–8.0 ha, and averaged 5.0 ha. This value is one-eighth the mean home-range size previously recorded for the species in contiguous forest in Victoria. All individuals used multiple nest trees, with nests generally located in trees >80 cm diameter at breast height. Although fragmented and spatially limited, the stands of large old trees on productive soils near Euroa provide a network of well connected, high-quality habitat for phascogales. The relatively dense population of phascogales in these remnants suggests that prior to agricultural clearing and timber harvesting, phascogales may have been much more common in Victoria than at present.


© CSIRO 2001

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