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Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods

Telfer, W. R., Griffiths, Anthony David and Bowman, David M. J. S. (2006). Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods. Australian Journal of Zoology,54(5):325-334.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 10 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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IRMA ID A00004xPUB64
Title Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods
Author Telfer, W. R.
Griffiths, Anthony David
Bowman, David M. J. S.
Journal Name Australian Journal of Zoology
Publication Date 2006
Volume Number 54
Issue Number 5
ISSN 0004-959X   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-33751109980
Start Page 325
End Page 334
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Collingwood
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The rock-dwelling macropod species of the tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia, are behaviourally elusive and difficult to observe in their rugged habitats. Hence, little is understood about their ecology. We evaluated the potential of using scats (faecal pellets) as a survey tool for this faunal assemblage by: (1) developing a key to the scats of the species; (2) examining the rates of loss and decomposition of short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale brachyotis) scats in these tropical environments; and (3) comparing the distribution of scats of P. brachyotis with the species' use of space and habitats as determined with radio-telemetry. Classification tree modelling discriminated the scats of the seven macropod species, primarily on the basis of width. The reliability of identification was greatly improved with larger sample sizes and inclusion of a habitat parameter. Rates of scat loss and decay were variable and the greatest losses occurred in the wet season, particularly on sandy soils. Scat censuses underestimated the total area used by P. brachyotis but the distribution of scats showed the same broad pattern of habitat use found by radio-telemetry. We conclude that scats can accurately indicate the presence and habitat preferences of rock-dwelling macropod species.
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