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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 29(4)

Efficacy of hair-sampling techniques for the detection of medium-sized terrestrial mammals. I. A comparison between hair-funnels, hair-tubes and indirect signs

D. J. Mills, B. Harris, A. W. Claridge and S. C. Barry

Wildlife Research 29(4) 379 - 387
Published: 29 November 2002


We compared the efficacy of two different designs of hair-tube for detecting medium-sized, terrestrial marsupials in a range of forest types in south-east New South Wales. The two designs compared were a large-diameter PVC pipe (large hair-tube) and a tapered hair-funnel. In addition, the relative abundance of forage-diggings of the same marsupials was estimated simultaneously in order to provide an independent assessment of their distribution within the same study area. Only two hair-tubes out of 620 contained hair that could be attributed to the target fauna, both from the long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta). This was despite the widespread occurrence of forage-diggings at all of the 31 transects that were surveyed. Only two species of mammal, the agile antechinus (Antechinus agilis) and the bush rat (Rattus fuscipes), were detected in sufficient quantity to enable statistical analysis comparing the efficacy of the two hair-tube types. For R. fuscipes the large hair-tube was significantly more effective than the hair-funnel. Conversely, the hair-funnel was significantly more effective in detecting A. agilis than the large hair-tube. Our results suggest that both designs of hair-tube, in their current form, are ineffective for surveying for medium-sized terrestrial marsupials. We see three important issues regarding hair-tube design and implementation that require more attention before this technique can be considered an effective surveying tool: hair-tube morphology, the material used to capture hair, and bait type.

Full text doi:10.1071/WR01031

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