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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 28(3)

The biology of banded (Lagostrophus fasciatus) and rufous (Lagorchestes hirsutus) hare-wallabies (Diprotodontia : Macropodidae) on Dorre and Bernier Islands, Western Australia

J. D. Richards, Jeff Short, R. I. T. Prince, J. A. Friend and J. M. Courtenay

Wildlife Research 28(3) 311 - 322
Published: 2001

Abstract

Sex ratio, reproduction, body condition and morphology of banded (Lagostrophus fasciatus) and rufous (Lagorchestes hirsutus) hare-wallabies were assessed on Dorre and Bernier Islands. Data are derived from 236 banded hare-wallabies and 161 rufous hare-wallabies captured between 1959 and 1999.

The sex ratio of captured banded hare-wallabies tended to be female-biased (0.79: 1 male: female) but was not a significant departure from parity. In contrast, pouch young tended towards a male bias at 1.35: 1. Females produced 1–2 young per year. They were capable of producing young at 1000 g, but the incidence of females carrying pouch young or lactating increased from 39% for females of 1000–1400 g to 80% for females of 1401–1800 g, then decreased slightly to 76% for females >1800 g. Births occurred throughout the year but there was some indication of a decline in the latter half of the year. Captured banded hare-wallabies ranged in weight from 850 to 2300 g. Animals on Dorre Island were in significantly better body condition than those on Bernier Island, although this could be an artefact of their shorter pes length. There was no evidence of sexual dimorphism and no differences in morphological measurements taken, other than pes length, between the two island populations.

The sex ratio of captured rufous hare-wallabies was close to parity at 0.99: 1 and for pouch young tended to be male-biased at 2: 1. The smallest female with young weighed 1215 g, but the incidence of females carrying pouch young or lactating increased from 43% for females of 1215–1660 g to 61% for females of 1661–2015 g and 100% for females >2015 g. Females carried pouch young in all months sampled (March–September) and one incidence of twinning was noted. Captured rufous hare-wallabies weighed 600–2550 g. Body condition was similar for males and females and between islands, but smaller females of reproductive age were in poorer body condition than larger females. There was no evidence of sexual dimorphism but pes lengths of animals on Dorre Island were significantly shorter, head lengths longer and tail lengths shorter, than those on Bernier Island. Rufous hare-wallabies appear to show regional variation in body size, being smaller in the wetter and warmer Tanami/Alice Springs region and larger on the drier and cooler Shark Bay islands.



Full text doi:10.1071/WR99109

© CSIRO 2001

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