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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 22(4)

The Breeding biology of Pseudocheirus peregrinus viverrinus on FLinders ISland, Bass Strait

S Munks

Wildlife Research 22(4) 521 - 533
Published: 1995

Abstract

Reproduction in Pseudocheirus peregrinus viverrinus in coastal teatree woodland on Flinders Island was seasonal. The main birth season was from May to August. The mean duration of lactation was 29 weeks. The duration of lactation for multiparous females that bred twice in a year was significantly shorter than that of multiparous single breeders. In general the young left the pouch during early spring and were fully weaned by the early summer months. In contrast to populations of P. peregrinus inhabiting similar woodland in Victoria only a few multiparous females (6-9%) gave birth to a second litter in the springlsummer months on Flinders Island. The mean litter size (1.84) and annual fecundity of the population (1.91 offspring per female) were lower than those reported for three populations of Pseudocheirus peregrinus in Victoria. It is suggested that the low occurrence of spring/summer births and low fecundity of P. p. viverrinus on Flinders Island may be related to the age and nutrient status of their coastal teatree forest habitat. The body mass of P. p. viverrinus was higher than previously recorded for P. peregrinus. The adult body mass of females ranged from 948 to 1082 g. Adults showed seasonal variation in body mass with most females losing weight during the late spring and summer months coincident with late lactation. It is proposed that the larger body size of P. p. viverrinus on Flinders Island is a result of release from predation pressure and/or interspecific competition.



Full text doi:10.1071/WR9950521

© CSIRO 1995

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