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Influence of habitat on home-range size in the short-beaked echidna


Sprent, J and Nicol, SC, Influence of habitat on home-range size in the short-beaked echidna, Australian Journal of Zoology, 60, (1) pp. 46-53. ISSN 0004-959X (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/ZO11098


The size of an animalís home range is strongly influenced by the resources available within it. In productive, resource-rich habitats sufficient resources are obtainable within a smaller area, and for many species, home ranges are smaller in resource-rich habitats than in habitats with lower resource abundance. Location data on 14 male and 27 female echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) fitted with tracking transmitters, in the southern midlands of Tasmania, were used to test the influence of habitat type on home-range size. We hypothesised that as woodland should offer more shelter, food resources and refuges than pasture, echidnas living in woodland would have smaller home ranges than those living in pasture areas. We found significant differences between the sexes. Male echidnas had a significantly larger mean home range than females and a quite different relationship between home-range size and habitat type from females. There was no relationship between the proportion of woodland within male home ranges and home-range size whereas female echidnas had a highly significant negative relationship. This suggests that home-range size of female echidnas is highly influenced by the amount of woodland within it, but the home-range size of male echidnas is controlled by factors other than habitat. This pattern is consistent with the spatial ecology of many other solitary species with a promiscuous mating system. The home ranges of females are scaled to encompass all necessary resources for successfully raising their young within a minimal area, whilst the large home ranges of males are scaled to maximise access to females.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:habitat quality, home range, radio tracking, echidna, monotreme
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Sprent, J (Dr Jennifer Sprent)
UTAS Author:Nicol, SC (Associate Professor Stewart Nicol)
ID Code:78880
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2012-07-31
Last Modified:2017-10-31
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