Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. I. Home range size and movements

M. L. Pope A B , D. B. Lindenmayer A and R. B. Cunningham A

A Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

B Current address: State Forests of New South Wales, Tumut, NSW 2720, Australia.

Wildlife Research 31(6) 559-568 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR02110
Submitted: 29 November 2002  Accepted: 13 February 2004   Published: 23 December 2004


This paper examines home-range attributes of 40 greater gliders (Petauroides volans) in five patches of remnant eucalypt forest surrounded by stands of radiata pine (Pinus radiata) near Tumut in south-eastern Australia. Fixed-kernel smoothing methods were used to estimate home-range size for P. volans. For males, home-range size varied from 1.38–4.10 ha (mean = 2.6 ± 0.8 ha, n = 12) and was significantly larger (P < 0.05) than for females (1.26–2.97 ha, mean = 2.0 ± 0.6 ha, n = 11). Home-range size increased significantly with increasing patch size and reduced patch population density. Thus, small patches had more animals per unit area with smaller home ranges and greater home-range overlap.

Our findings illustrate flexibility in the use of space by P. volans. Such results have not previously been reported for P. volans or any other species of arboreal marsupial. Considerable home-range overlap (at 95th percentile isopleth level) was observed between male and female P. volans. Pairs of females also exhibited home-range overlap. Males tended to maintain home ranges exclusive of other males, although some shared common areas. Contrary to the large variations observed in home-range area, core areas (50th isopleth) remained relatively constant, regardless of patch size, population density or sex. This may indicate that core areas are an essential requirement for individuals and resources they contain cannot be shared with congeners.


Alan Welsh and Christine Donnelly contributed many important ideas on the analysis of home-range data and assisted with many aspects of the data analysis. Henry Nix provided additional inspiration, insight and funding for this project. Many people assisted with fieldwork for this project but especially Ryan Incoll, Karen Viggers, Chris McGregor and Craig Tribolet. Karen Viggers assisted with the sedation of animals and expert veterinary advice. Ross Meggs from Faunatech Pty Ltd invested significant time and energy in tailoring and building radio-collars. Andrea Taylor kindly allowed access to preliminary genetic data. This project was supported by Land and Water Australia and a M.Sc. scholarship from the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at The Australian National University. MLP thanks Bill Foley, Ben Moore and Ivan Lawler, who kindly provided further background information on the use of trees and leaf chemistry. Comments by two anonymous reviewers improved an earlier version of this manuscript.


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