eCite Digital Repository

Activity patterns and sharing of time and space of platypuses, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, in a subalpine Tasmanian lake


Bethge, P and Munks, SA and Otley, H and Nicol, SC, Activity patterns and sharing of time and space of platypuses, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, in a subalpine Tasmanian lake, Journal of Mammalogy, 90, (6) pp. 1350-1356. ISSN 0022-2372 (2009) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

Copyright © 2009 The American Society of Mammalogists

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1644/08-MAMM-A-355R.1


We investigated the activity patterns of platypuses, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, at Lake Lea, a subalpine lake in Tasmania. Platypuses were equipped with activity loggers or time–depth recorders, which allowed constant recordings for up to 48 days. The recordings revealed an unexpectedly high variety of foraging behaviors. Although nocturnal activity, as reported from other habitats, was still predominant, diurnal activity as well as highly fragmented activity patterns were common. Mean foraging duration was 12.4 h/day, with some animals foraging continuously for up to 29.8 h. Daily emergence and return times as well as durations of daily foraging trips varied considerably. At least 2 animals showed a distinct shift in activity pattern related to the lunar cycle. Season and water temperature affected platypus behavior. Foraging durations were longer and activity levels were higher in winter. In contrast to observations in river systems, temporal separation likely served as a mechanism to avoid intraspecific competition, and was particularly important for adult males during the breeding season. Dominant males were preferentially nocturnal, whereas lower-ranked males adopted more variable or fragmented activity patterns.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:activity patterns, data-logger, foraging, lake system, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, platypus, Tasmania, temporal separation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Bethge, P (Mr Phillip Bethge)
UTAS Author:Munks, SA (Dr Sarah Munks)
UTAS Author:Otley, H (Ms Helen Otley)
UTAS Author:Nicol, SC (Associate Professor Stewart Nicol)
ID Code:62213
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2010-03-10
Last Modified:2011-04-14
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page