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Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. III. Night-time use of trees


, : Patch use by the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in a fragmented forest ecosystem. III. Night-time use of trees. Wildlife Research 31(6): 579-585

Night-time use of feed trees by 40 radio-collared individuals of the greater glider (Petauroides volans) was recorded within five remnant patches of eucalypt forest near Tumut in south-eastern Australia. Radio-collared animals were observed making 663 night-time visits to 433 trees. For these observations, we recorded the number of visits by an animal to each tree, the number of different animals using each tree, the characteristics of trees that animals used, and the category of activity or behaviour displayed by animals (classified as feeding, perching, and moving). We found no evidence of a significant difference in patterns of behaviour between male and female P. volans in their night-time use of trees within remnant patches, regardless of patch size or population density. There were few records of animals (4%) from the radiata pine (Pinus radiata) plantation that surrounded the eucalypt remnants, although 20 observations were made of P. volans feeding on the young male cones and buds of this introduced tree species. There was evidence of preference for feeding in ribbon gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), mountain gum (E. dalrympleana) and narrow-leaved peppermint (E. radiata), with 72% of feeding observations of P. volans coming from these three tree species. Animals were generally solitary and spent most of the night feeding and perching in the upper canopy. Most trees were used by a single individual, with 96% of observations being of a single animal in a tree. The limited number of cases of sharing and co-use of trees were generally between an adult male and adult female (assumed mates), and females and their young. The probability that a tree was used increased with the average size of a tree (a composite measure of diameter, height and crown features) until approaching an asymptote of 1.0, i.e. all large trees were used. The number of visits a tree received from P. volans also was positively related to the measure of its size.

US$19.90

DOI: 10.1071/WR02112


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