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Reproductive strategies of the short-beaked echidna - a review with new data from a long-term study on the Tasmanian subspecies (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus)

Citation

Morrow, GE and Andersen, NA and Nicol, SC, Reproductive strategies of the short-beaked echidna - a review with new data from a long-term study on the Tasmanian subspecies (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus) , Australian Journal of Zoology, 57, (4) pp. 275-282. ISSN 0004-959X (2009) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2009 CSIRO

Official URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au

DOI: doi:10.1071/ZO09037

Abstract

The short-beaked echidna is the most widely distributed endemic Australian mammal, and echidnas from different geographic areas differ so much in appearance that they have been assigned to several subspecies. In this paper, we present data obtained from free-ranging echidnas in southern Tasmania, and compare this with studies from other parts of Australia. In Tasmania mating occurs between early June and mid-September, and throughout Australia the normal breeding season lies within these limits. In echidnas from the more easterly parts of Australia reproduction closely follows hibernation, with Tasmanian echidnas showing a significant overlap between hibernation and reproduction. There is intense competition between males, and female echidnas from Tasmania show multiple matings. There are significant differences between echidnas from different areas of Australia in the use of nursery burrows and maternal care. One of the most dramatic differences is in duration of lactation: echidnas from Kangaroo Island wean the young at 204210 days, but in Tasmania weaning occurs at 139152 days, even though the masses of the young at weaning are comparable.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Objective Field:Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Author:Morrow, GE (Ms Gemma Morrow)
Author:Andersen, NA (Dr Niels Andersen)
Author:Nicol, SC (Associate Professor Stewart Nicol)
ID Code:62217
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2010-03-10
Last Modified:2010-04-27
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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