Gap-crossing in fragmented habitats by mahogany gliders (Petaurus gracilis). Do they cross roads and powerline corridors?
Asari, Y and Johnson, CN and Parsons, M and Larson, J, Gap-crossing in fragmented habitats by mahogany gliders (Petaurus gracilis). Do they cross roads and powerline corridors?, Australian Mammalogy, 32, (1) pp. 10-15. ISSN 0310-0049 (2010) [Refereed Article]
The mahogany glider (Petaurus gracilis) is one of the most threatened arboreal mammals in Australia. Although
its habitat is affected by fragmentation, gap-crossing behaviour of the species has not been studied. A radio-tracking survey
was undertaken on six individuals (three males, three females) in a woodland patch bisected by a 35.8-m-wide highway and a
31.5-m-wide powerline corridor, in north-east Queensland. The mean home ranges of males were 20.1
�� 3.3 ha,
�� 7.9 ha and 20.9 �� 8.2 ha, as measured by the Minimum Convex Polygon, Kernel and Harmonic Mean methods
respectively. The mean home ranges of females were 8.9
�� 0.5 ha, 9.0 �� 4.2 ha and 8.8 �� 2.3 ha, as measured by the
Minimum Convex Polygon, Kernel and Harmonic Mean methods respectively. Two males and one female were observed
crossing linear gaps. However, there was less crossing than expected, and females were less likely to cross than males. One
male used a narrow strip of woodland at the opposite side of the highway as supplemental habitat for foraging. This individual
also used scattered trees in a grassland matrix for foraging or denning. Another male used a wooden power pole as a launching
site to cross the highway. This study emphasises the importance of protecting large trees along linear barriers in open habitat,
and suggests that gliding poles may be used to facilitate gap-crossing by mahogany gliders.