CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Wildlife Research   
Wildlife Research
Journal Banner
  Ecology, Management and Conservation in Natural and Modified Habitats
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 34(8)

The importance of grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea preissii) as habitat for mardo (Antechinus flavipes leucogaster) during post-fire recovery

Marnie L. Swinburn A B, Patricia A. Fleming C F, Michael D. Craig A, Andrew H. Grigg D, Mark J. Garkaklis A B, Richard J. Hobbs E, Giles E. St.J. Hardy A

A School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.
B Department of Environment and Conservation, Swan Region, PO Box 1167, Bentley Delivery Centre, Bentley, WA 6983, Australia.
C School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.
D Alcoa World Alumina Australia, Pinjarra, WA 6208, Australia.
E School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.
F Corresponding author. Email: T.Fleming@murdoch.edu.au
PDF (547 KB) $25
 Export Citation


Grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea) are an important structural component of many Australian ecosystems and also an important resource for many fauna species. Grasstrees have distinctive morphologies, with a crown of long thin leaves and skirts, the latter of which are accumulated dead leaves; both are incinerated by fire. This study determined the morphological features of Xanthorrhoea preissii, which change in response to fire from 6 months to 21 years post-burn. In addition, using radio-telemetry and spool-tracking, we determined that grasstrees are utilised as foraging and nesting resources for mardos (Antechinus flavipes leucogaster (Gray, 1841), Marsupialia: Dasyuridae). Recently burnt grasstrees (6 months post-burn) appeared not to be used by mardos at all. We found few mardos in these recently burnt sites, and the one individual we managed to track for 126 m utilised only a single grasstree: a 2-m-tall multiple-crowned grasstree that had escaped the fire was used as a nest site. For sites 5 years post-burn, mardos selectively utilised grasstrees with larger crown areas and those with a greater number of crowns compared with a random sample of available trees. At the 14-year post-burn sites, mardos still demonstrated some selection for grasstrees, although no specific single feature could be determined as most significant. We recorded humidity and temperature buffering effects in association with post-burn accumulation of grasstree skirt material and found that even dead grasstree ‘logs’ were an important resource for nests. We conclude that mardos utilise both live and dead grasstrees for foraging and nest sites, possibly owing to the availability of dense cover, a buffered microclimate, and potentially also food resources. Fire-management policies that promote habitat heterogeneity and retain several intact-skirted grasstrees within the landscape are likely to benefit mardos.

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2015