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Partnerships in the social system of a small macropod marsupial, the quokka (Setonix brachyurus)


McLean, IG and Cameron, EZ and Linklater, WL and Schmitt, NT and Pulskamp, KSM, Partnerships in the social system of a small macropod marsupial, the quokka (Setonix brachyurus), Behaviour, 146, (1) pp. 89-112. ISSN 0005-7959 (2009) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2009 Brill

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DOI: doi:10.1163/156853908X390940


We detail the social behaviour of the quokka, a small macropod marsupial. Most of the study population were habituated to humans, and were individually marked, and weighed regularly. Males formed a dominance hierarchy and interacted regularly. Heavier males were the most dominant, and spent most time with females. There was a tendency for males to defend a female after mating, but not at other times. Females rarely initiated interactions and appeared to avoid associating with other females. Males routinely attempted to form liaisons with females, but most liaisons lasted for <10 min. Consistency in the liaisons formed indicated partner preferences ('consorts'), and these lasted at least two breeding seasons. Females formed a consort with 1-3 males and rejected non-consort males. Males formed consorts with 1-5 females, regardless of their dominance, and approached many other females. Superficially, quokkas have a typically mammalian social system in which males compete with other males for access to females and females are selective of their mates. However, the social system of quokkas is characterized by subtlety in social relationships which required detailed information on known individuals over at least two breeding seasons to detect.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
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:Cameron, EZ (Professor Elissa Cameron)
ID Code:67486
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-03-04
Last Modified:2014-11-24
Downloads:8 View Download Statistics

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