Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Population ecology of the long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) on French Island, Victoria

Greta J. Frankham A B , Robert L. Reed A , Terry P. Fletcher A and Kath A. Handasyde A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: gretajf@unimelb.edu.au

Australian Mammalogy 33(1) 73-81 https://doi.org/10.1071/AM10051
Submitted: 30 November 2010  Accepted: 30 January 2011   Published: 23 March 2011

Abstract

The elusive nature of the long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) has hindered the collection of long-term data for this threatened species. Between June 2005 and May 2009, data on the ecology of a wild population of long-nosed potoroos located on French Island, Victoria, were collected during a series of research projects. Over this period, 33 individual potoroos were trapped a total of 251 times. Up to nine individuals were known to be alive at once on the 15-ha study site of mature remnant native forest. Adult potoroos showed high site fidelity and significant sexual size dimorphism, with males heavier and having longer head and pes lengths than females. Congruent with other studies, we found no evidence of seasonality in breeding. Births occurred in every month of the year and the testis volume of males did not vary throughout the year. In contrast to previous studies, however, we did not observe peaks in breeding activity. Our research and review of existing literature suggests that the ecology of the long-nosed potoroo is strongly influenced by local environmental conditions and emphasises the need to consider long-term and site-specific data when developing management strategies to conserve this ecologically important species.


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