Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Spatial variability in the social organisation of the yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis) near Ravenshoe, north Queensland

Ross L. Goldingay, Darren G. Quin and Sue Churchill

Australian Journal of Zoology 49(4) 397 - 409
Published: 2001


A detailed study was conducted over a 12-month period of 10 yellow-bellied glider groups at Nitchaga Creek in north Queensland. Adult gliders were sexually dimorphic in body size and were characterised by yellow ventral fur, which is consistent with southern populations. Gliders lived in groups of 3–6 individuals that occupied exclusive areas of about 50 ha. The structure of glider groups varied enormously: five contained one adult pair, three contained one adult male and 2–3 adult females, and two initially contained 2–3 adult males and one adult female but then persisted as bachelor groups after the death or disappearance of the adult female. Group size changed during the year as offspring matured and as individuals died. One male glider dispersed about 1 km from its natal home-range and became the dominant male in a nearby group. Young were born throughout the year, with a peak in the number of pouch-young in June. This study has confirmed the highly variable social system of the yellow-bellied glider, which appears to be mediated by local resource abundance.

© CSIRO 2001

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