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

The Ecology of the Dingo in Northeastern New-South-Wales .4. Prey Selection by Dingoes, and Its Effect on the Major Prey Species, the Swamp Wallaby, Wallabia-Bicolor (Desmarest)

JD Robertshaw and RH Harden

Australian Wildlife Research 13(2) 141 - 163
Published: 1986


Prey selection and its effect on the major prey species was examined between 1979 and 1980 by comparing the diet of dingoes and the biology of the swamp wallaby at two sites where the relative numbers of dingoes and wallabies differed. Selection of prey by dingoes was not opportunistic but demonstrated a preference for larger native species, and was similar to that found in the same area between 1972 and 1974. In particular, dingoes had a strong preference for swamp wallaby, the occurrence of which in the diet was disproportionate to its observed numbers; and switching was not observed even when numbers of swamp wallaby were reduced and alternative macropod prey present. Contrary to Optimal Foraging Theory predictions that the predator should become more catholic in prey selection, this species was more frequent in the diet when its availability was lower. At one site the major effect of this predation was the disruption of the breeding cycle, as a result of the loss of large pouch young because of the harassment of their mothers.


© CSIRO 1986

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