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Spurs, sexual dimorphism and reproductive maturity in Tasmanian echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus)


Nicol, SC and Andersen, NA and Morrow, GE and Harris, RL, Spurs, sexual dimorphism and reproductive maturity in Tasmanian echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus), Australian Mammalogy, 41, (2) pp. 161-169. ISSN 0310-0049 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Australian Mammal Society

DOI: doi:10.1071/AM18005


We present data from an 18-year study of a wild population of Tasmanian echidnas, which show that the presence of spurs in an adult are a reliable indicator of sex, and that there is a slight but significant sexual dimorphism in size, with a male to female mass ratio of 1.1. Minimum age at first breeding in the wild for Tasmanian echidnas was 5 years, as has been found on Kangaroo Island, compared with 3 years in captive echidnas. It is often assumed that although the echidna is distributed throughout Australia, New Guinea and off-shore islands that all aspects of its basic biology are the same in all populations, but comparisons of our results with data from other populations suggest that there may be differences in size and sexual dimorphism.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:crural gland, monotreme, platypus, reproduction
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Nicol, SC (Associate Professor Stewart Nicol)
UTAS Author:Andersen, NA (Dr Niels Andersen)
UTAS Author:Morrow, GE (Ms Gemma Morrow)
UTAS Author:Harris, RL (Miss Rachel Harris)
ID Code:152046
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2022-08-10
Last Modified:2022-09-16

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