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

Citation

Telfer, WR and Griffiths, AD and Bowman, DMJS, Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods, Australian Journal of Zoology, 54, (5) pp. 325-334. ISSN 0004-959X (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1071/ZO05074

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. © CSIRO 2006.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Other Biological Sciences
Research Field:Global Change Biology
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Climate and Climate Change
Objective Field:Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability
Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:46468
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2007-09-19
Last Modified:2007-09-19
Downloads:0

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