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Home range and den characteristics of the brush-tailed rabbit-rat (Conilurus penicillatus) in the monsoonal tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia

Firth, R, Woinarski, J and Noske, R (2006). Home range and den characteristics of the brush-tailed rabbit-rat (Conilurus penicillatus) in the monsoonal tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia. Wildlife Research,33(5):397-407.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 12 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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IRMA ID A00005xPUB13
Title Home range and den characteristics of the brush-tailed rabbit-rat (Conilurus penicillatus) in the monsoonal tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia
Author Firth, R
Woinarski, J
Noske, R
Journal Name Wildlife Research
Publication Date 2006
Volume Number 33
Issue Number 5
ISSN 1035-3712   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-33747201684
Start Page 397
End Page 407
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Field of Research 0608 - Zoology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Radio-telemetry was used to investigate the home range and den characteristics of the brush-tailed rabbit-rat (Conilurus penicillatus) from three sites in the monsoonal tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia. Radio-tracking was conducted in a series of discontinuous 4-17-day sessions, over a 2-year period. The home ranges of 61 C. penicillatus were estimated using the minimum convex polygon (MCP) and fixed kernel (K95% and K50%) methods. There were no significant differences in home-range size among the three sites or between wet and dry seasons, which suggests that vegetation structure, floristics and season play relatively little role in movements of C. penicillatus. The mean home-range size was 0.79 +/- 0.09 ha ( MCP estimate) to 0.97 +/- 0.12 ha ( K95% estimate). The home ranges of males were larger than those of females ( mean MCP estimates of 1.07 +/- 0.15 and 0.45 +/- 0.06 ha respectively). C. penicillatus denned primarily in fallen logs and in hollows of eucalypts and bloodwoods (Corymbia spp.). Rough-barked trees appeared to be preferred. The diameter at breast height (DBH) of den trees varied significantly between the three sites, being greatest at site C1 (34.5 +/- 2.4 cm) and least at site C2 (26.1 +/- 1.0 cm). Den trees had larger DBH than randomly selected trees at each site. The diameter at the midpoint (DMP) of both den and randomly selected logs were not significantly different between sites. Many individuals used more than one den site per tracking session. The small home ranges of C. penicillatus and its reliance on hollows in trees and logs suggest that this species is very vulnerable to local extinction following long-term annual and destructive fire regimes and land clearing, even in comparatively small patches.
Keywords kakadu-national-park
western-australia
small mammals
savanna
fire
rock
populations
landscapes
vegetation
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR05057   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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