Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Den-use and home-range characteristics of bobucks, Trichosurus cunninghami, resident in a forest patch

Jennifer K. Martin
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia. Email: j.martin@zoology.unimelb.edu.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 54(4) 225-234 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO06023
Submitted: 17 March 2006  Accepted: 11 May 2006   Published: 11 August 2006

Abstract

Detailed knowledge of how individuals use space when active and while sheltering is crucial to understanding the habitat requirements of a species. I present the first home-range estimates for bobucks, Trichosurus cunninghami, that are based on both nocturnal and diurnal radio-tracking fixes. I tracked 37 individuals (14 adult females, 14 adult males, three subadult females and six subadult males) between mid-1999 and late 2003 in a forest patch in the Strathbogie Ranges, south-eastern Australia. I collected a total of 9562 diurnal fixes (mean 309 fixes per adult) and 5211 nocturnal fixes (mean 169 fixes per adult). All individuals used multiple den-trees; adults used a mean of 7.2 den-trees per individual. Adult bobucks of both sexes had a mean home-range size of 6.0 ha. There were no significant differences in the mean number of den-trees used or in the mean home-range size of adult males and females. Subadults used significantly fewer den-trees and had significantly smaller home ranges than adults. This study demonstrates the importance of large and long-term datasets in accurately determining the habitat requirements of a population.


Acknowledgments

I thank Bert and Ruth Lobert and Kath Handasyde and Roger Martin for allowing me to work on their properties. Many thanks to Kath Handasyde and Graeme Coulson for their input into many aspects of this research and to Chris Johnson, Angus Martin and Euan Ritchie for helpful comments on this manuscript. While conducting this research, I was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award Ph.D. scholarship; research funding was gratefully received from the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, the Loftus-Hills Memorial Fund (Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne), the Australian Federation of University Women (Vic.), the Ecological Society of Australia and the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. I was also supported by a David Hay Write-up Award (University of Melbourne). This research was conducted with the permission of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment/Department of Sustainability and Environment (permit nos. RP-96-070, 10000466, 10000914, 10001402 and 10001937) and the University of Melbourne Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee (register number 99010).


References

Bergstrom, B. J. (1998). Home ranges of three species of chipmunks (Tamias) as assessed by radiotelemetry and grid trapping. Journal of Mammalogy 69, 190–193.
CrossRef |

Brashares, J. S. , and Arcese, P. (2002). Role of forage, habitat and predation in the behavioural plasticity of a small African antelope. Journal of Animal Ecology 71, 626–638.
CrossRef |

Burt, W. H. (1943). Territoriality and home range concepts as applied to mammals. Journal of Mammalogy 24, 346–352.
CrossRef |

Clutton-Brock, T. H. , and Harvey, P. H. (1978). Mammals, resources and reproductive strategies. Nature 273, 191–195.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Cockburn, A. , and Lazenby-Cohen, K. A. (1992). Use of nest trees by Antechinus stuartii, a semelparous lekking marsupial. Journal of Zoology 226, 657–680.


Cowan, P. E. (1989). Denning habits of common brushtail possums, Trichosurus vulpecula, in New Zealand lowland forest. Australian Wildlife Research 16, 63–78.
CrossRef |

Craig, S. A. (1985). Social organization, reproduction and feeding behaviour of a population of yellow-bellied gliders, Petaurus australis (Marsupialia: Petauridae). Australian Wildlife Research 12, 1–18.
CrossRef |

Finlayson, G. R. , Shimmin, G. A. , Temple-Smith, P. D. , Handasyde, K. A. , and Taggart, D. A. (2005). Burrow use and ranging behaviour of the southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) in the Murraylands, South Australia. Journal of Zoology 265, 189–200.
CrossRef |

Fisher, D. O. , and Owens, I. P. F. (2000). Female home range size and the evolution of social organization in macropod marsupials. Journal of Animal Ecology 69, 1083–1098.
CrossRef |

Fridell, R. A. , and Litvaitis, J. A. (1991). Influence of resource distribution and abundance on home-range characteristics of southern flying squirrels. Canadian Journal of Zoology 69, 2589–2593.


Gibbons P., and Lindenmayer D. B. (2002). ‘Tree Hollows and Wildlife Conservation in Australia.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)

Goldingay, R. L. , Quin, D. G. , and Churchill, S. (2001). Spatial variability in the social organisation of the yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis) near Ravenshoe, north Queensland. Australian Journal of Zoology 49, 397–409.
CrossRef |

Harestad, A. S. , and Bunnell, F. L. (1979). Home range and body weight: a re-evaluation. Ecology 60, 389–402.
CrossRef |

Harris, S. , Cresswell, W. J. , Forde, P. G. , Trewhella, W. J. , Woollard, T. , and Wray, S. (1990). Home range analysis using radio-tracking data – a review of problems and techniques particularly as applied to the study of mammals. Mammal Review 20, 97–123.


Hemson, G. , Johnson, P. , South, A. , Kenward, R. , Ripley, R. , and Macdonald, D. (2005). Are kernels the mustard? Data from global positioning system (GPS) collars suggests problems for kernel home-range analyses with least-squares cross-validation. Journal of Animal Ecology 74, 455–463.


Henry S. R., and Craig S. A. (1984). Diet, ranging behaviour and social organisation of the yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis) in Victoria. In ‘Possums and Gliders’. (Eds A. P. Smith and I. D. Hume.) pp. 331–341. (Surrey Beatty: Sydney.)

Hooge P. N., Solomon E., and Eichenlaub B. (1999). ‘Animal Movement Program.’ (Alaskan Biological Research Centre: Anchorage, AK.)

How R. A. (1972). The ecology and management of Trichosurus species (Marsupialia) in NSW. Ph.D. Thesis, University of New England, Armidale.

Ims R. A. (1995). Movement patterns related to spatial structures. In ‘Mosaic Landscapes and Ecological Processes’. (Eds L. Hansson, L. Fahrig and G. Merriam.) pp. 85–109. (Chapman and Hall: London.)

Jackson, S. M. (2000). Home-range and den use of the mahogany glider, Petaurus gracilis. Wildlife Research 27, 49–60.
CrossRef |

Kavanagh R. P., and Wheeler R. J. (2004). Home-range of the greater glider Petauroides volans in tall montane forest of southeastern New South Wales, and changes following logging. In ‘The Biology of Australian Possums and Gliders’. (Eds R. L. Goldingay and S. M. Jackson.) pp. 413–425. (Surrey Beatty: Sydney.)

Kehl J., and Borsboom A. (1984). Home range, den tree use and activity patterns in the greater glider, Petauroides volans. In ‘Possums and Gliders’. (Eds A. P. Smith and I. D. Hume.) pp. 229–236. (Surrey Beatty: Sydney.)

Kelt, D. A. , and Van Vuren, D. (1999). Energetic constraints and the relationship between body size and home range area in mammals. Ecology 80, 337–340.
CrossRef |

Kelt, D. A. , and Van Vuren, D. H. (2001). The ecology and macroecology of mammalian home range area. American Naturalist 157, 637–645.
CrossRef |

Kerle J. A. (2001). ‘Possums: the Brushtails, Ringtails and Greater Glider.’ (UNSW Press: Sydney.)

Lewis, S. E. (1995). Roost fidelity of bats: a review. Journal of Mammalogy 76, 481–496.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , and Meggs, R. A. (1996). Use of den trees by Leadbeater’s possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri). Australian Journal of Zoology 44, 625–638.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , Cunningham, R. B. , Tanton, M. T. , Smith, A. P. , and Nix, H. A. (1990a). The conservation of arboreal marsupials in the montane ash forests of the central highlands of Victoria, southeast Australia. 1. Factors influencing the occupancy of trees with hollows. Biological Conservation 54, 111–131.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , Cunningham, R. B. , Tanton, M. T. , Smith, A. P. , and Nix, H. A. (1990b). Habitat requirements of the mountain brushtail possum and the greater glider in the montane ash-type eucalypt forests of the central highlands of Victoria. Australian Wildlife Research 17, 467–478.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , Cunningham, R. B. , Tanton, M. T. , Smith, A. P. , and Nix, H. A. (1991). Characteristics of hollow-bearing trees occupied by arboreal marsupials in the montane ash forests of the central highlands of Victoria, south-east Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 40, 289–308.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , Welsh, A. , Donnelly, C. F. , and Meggs, R. A. (1996). Use of nest trees by the mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus caninus) (Phalangeridae: Marsupialia). 1. Number of occupied trees and frequency of tree use. Wildlife Research 23, 343–361.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , Welsh, A. , and Donnelly, C. F. (1997). Use of nest trees by the mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus caninus) (Phalangeridae: Marsupialia). 3. Spatial configuration and co-occupancy of nest trees. Wildlife Research 24, 661–677.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , Dubach, J. , and Viggers, K. L. (2002). Geographic dimorphism in the mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus caninus): the case for a new species. Australian Journal of Zoology 50, 369–393.
CrossRef |

Lindenmayer, D. B. , Pope, M. L. , and Cunningham, R. B. (2004). Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. II. Characteristics of den trees and preliminary data on den-use patterns. Wildlife Research 31, 569–577.
CrossRef |

Martin J. K. (2005). Behavioural ecology of the bobuck (Trichosurus cunninghami). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Melbourne.

Martin, J. K. , and Handasyde, K. A. (2006). Comparison of bobuck (Trichosurus cunninghami) demography in two habitat types in the Strathbogie Ranges, Australia. Journal of Zoology, London 269,in press


Martin J. K., Handasyde K. A., Wright C. J., Ayers L. T., McDonald-Madden E., and Reside A. (2004). Aspects of the ecology of the bobuck Trichosurus caninus in the Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria. In ‘The Biology of Australian Possums and Gliders’. (Eds R. L. Goldingay and S. M. Jackson.) pp. 484–489. (Surrey Beatty and Sons: Chipping Norton.)

McLoughlin, P. D. , Ferguson, S. H. , and Messier, F. (2000). Intraspecific variation in home range overlap with habitat quality: a comparison among brown bear populations. Evolutionary Ecology 14, 39–60.
CrossRef |

McNab, B. K. (1963). Bioenergetics and the determination of home range size. American Naturalist 97, 133–140.
CrossRef |

Morris, D. W. (1987). Ecological scale and habitat use. Ecology 68, 362–369.
CrossRef |

Muul, I. (1968). Behavioural and physiological influences on the distribution of the flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans. Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 134, 1–66.


Otis, D. L. , and White, G. C. (1999). Autocorrelation of location estimates and the analysis of radiotracking data. Journal of Wildlife Management 63, 1039–1044.


Owen W. H. (1964). Studies in mammalian ecology. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Melbourne.

Pope, M. L. , Lindenmayer, D. B. , and Cunningham, R. B. (2004). Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. I. Home range size and movements. Wildlife Research 31, 559–568.
CrossRef |

Powell R. A. (2000). Animal home ranges and territories and home range estimators. In ‘Research Techniques in Animal Ecology: Controversies and Consequences’. (Eds L. Boitani and T. K. Fuller.) pp. 65–110. (Columbia University Press: New York.)

Relyea, R. A. , Lawrence, R. K. , and Demarais, S. (2000). Home range of desert mule deer: testing the body-size and habitat-productivity hypotheses. Journal of Wildlife Management 64, 146–153.


Ribble, D. O. , Wurtz, A. E. , McConnell, E. K. , Buegge, J. J. , and Welch, K. C. (2002). A comparison of home ranges of two species of Peromyscus using trapping and radiotelemetry data. Journal of Mammalogy 83, 260–266.
CrossRef |

Rodrigues, F. H. G. , and Monteiro, E. L. A. (2000). Home range and activity patterns of pampas deer in Emas National Park, Brazil. Journal of Mammalogy 81, 1136–1142.
CrossRef |

Seaman, D. E. , and Powell, R. A. (1996). An evaluation of the accuracy of kernel density estimators for home range analysis. Ecology 77, 2075–2085.
CrossRef |

Seaman, D. E. , Millspaugh, J. J. , Kernohan, B. J. , Brundige, G. C. , Raedeke, K. J. , and Gitzen, R. A. (1999). Effects of sample size on kernel home range estimates. Journal of Wildlife Management 63, 739–747.


Smith, A. P. , and Lindenmayer, D. B. (1988). Tree hollow requirements of Leadbeater’s possum and other possums and gliders in timber production forests of the Victorian central highlands. Australian Wildlife Research 15, 347–362.
CrossRef |

Stirrat, S. C. (2003). Seasonal changes in home-range area and habitat use by the agile wallaby (Macropus agilis). Wildlife Research 30, 593–600.
CrossRef |

Swihart, R. K. , and Slade, N. A. (1985). Testing for independence of observations in animal movements. Ecology 66, 1176–1184.
CrossRef |

Swihart, R. K. , Slade, N. A. , and Bergstrom, B. J. (1988). Relating body size to the rate of home range use in mammals. Ecology 69, 393–399.
CrossRef |

van der Ree R. (2000). Ecology of arboreal marsupials in a network of remnant linear habitats. Ph.D. Thesis, Deakin University, Melbourne.

van der Ree, R. , Soderquist, T. R. , and Bennett, A. F. (2001). Home-range use by the brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa) (Marsupialia) in high-quality, spatially limited habitat. Wildlife Research 28, 517–525.
CrossRef |

White G. C., and Garrott R. A. (1990). ‘Analysis of Wildlife Radio-tracking Data.’ (Academic Press: San Diego, CA.)

Worton, B. J. (1987). A review of models of home range for animal movement. Ecological Modelling 38, 277–298.
CrossRef |

Worton, B. J. (1989). Kernel methods for estimating the utilization distribution in home range studies. Ecology 70, 164–168.
CrossRef |



Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (16)