Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society

Aspects of the ecology of the eastern pygmy-possum Cercartetus nanus at Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

J.M. Harris, R.L. Goldingay, L. Broome, P. Craven and K.S. Maloney

Australian Mammalogy 29(1) 39 - 46
Published: 2007


A variety of ecological data were collected on the eastern pygmy-possum Cercartetus nanus at Jervis Bay, in south-eastern New South Wales between March 2006 and January 2007. Elliott traps, pitfall traps, nest-boxes and spotlighting were used to survey for the species. Data on habitat suitability including abundance of food plants (flowering trees and shrubs) and potential nest sites were also collected. Home range data were gathered via radio telemetry. Three individuals were caught in 2150 trap-nights and one animal was re-trapped once. Radio-collars were attached to one animal of each sex and tracked for 11 days during March 2006. These possums used areas (using minimum convex polygons) of 0.85 ha (male) and 0.19 ha (female). The average overnight distance moved was 44 m for the male (range = 4-81 m) and 19 m for the female (range = 0-56 m). Nest-sites included hollows in the proteaceous shrubs Banksia serrata and B. ericifolia, and in the myrtaceous trees Corymbia gummifera, Eucalyptus sclerophylla, and Syncarpia glomulifera. Cercartetus nanus captures were confined to two sites that had the most prolific flowering of potential food plants and the highest availability of potential nest-sites. A review of literature and previous surveys of the surrounding area was a necessary precursor to field study and produced 57 records. Greater understanding of the impacts of development and fire are needed for conservation and management of this species.

© Australian Mammal Society 2007

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