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

Short-term movement patterns and diet of small dasyurid marsupials in semiarid Australia

Lisa Warnecke A D E , Gerhard Körtner A , Chris J. Burwell B C , James M. Turner A D and Fritz Geiser A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Behavioural and Physiological Ecology, Zoology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

B Queensland Museum, PO Box 3300, South Brisbane, Qld 4101, Australia.

C Environmental Futures Centre and Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.

D Present address: Department of Biology and Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2G3, Canada.

E Corresponding author. Email: l.warnecke@uwinnipeg.ca

Australian Mammalogy 34(1) 49-54 https://doi.org/10.1071/AM10052
Submitted: 8 December 2010  Accepted: 9 May 2011   Published: 7 October 2011

Abstract

Since little information is available on the spatial ecology of small arid-zone marsupials, we used radio-tracking to investigate the small-scale activity patterns of three dasyurid species in semiarid Australia. Sminthopsis crassicaudata, Planigale gilesi and S. macroura were equipped with miniature radio-transmitters to monitor choice of resting sites and daily movements. Resting sites were located within an area of 1.27 ± 0.36 ha, 0.12 ± 0.02 ha and 3.60 ± 0.95 ha, respectively and individuals returned to previously used resting sites regularly. We also analysed scat samples of S. crassicaudata and P. gilesi, and identified Araneae, Hymenoptera and Orthoptera as the major prey taxa for both species. Our study presents the first radio-tracking-based information on movements for these species in semiarid habitat, which indicates that, over a period of several weeks, resting sites are situated within small and defined areas.

Additional keywords: arid zone, Dasyuridae, insectivorous diet, nesting range, Planigale, Sminthopsis.


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