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Mating system and local dispersal patterns of an endangered potoroid, the northern bettong (Bettongia tropica)


Pope, LC and Vernes, K and Goldizen, AW and Johnson, CN, Mating system and local dispersal patterns of an endangered potoroid, the northern bettong (Bettongia tropica), Australian Journal of Zoology, 60, (4) pp. 278-287. ISSN 0004-959X (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Journal compilation  copyright CSIRO 2012

DOI: doi:10.1071/ZO12071


The northern bettong (Bettongia tropica) (Potoroidae), is an endangered macropod with a restricted distribution. We combined radio-tracking and trapping data with microsatellite genotypes to infer the mating system and local dispersal patterns of this species, and discuss their relevance to translocations. We defined the mating system as ‘overlap promiscuity’ (sensu Wittenberger 1979), though we cannot rule out serial monogamy. We found significant effects of proximity (average distance between parents = 190 m) and male weight, but not size, on the likelihood of paternity, suggesting that closer, heavier males have greater mating success. The average distance between putative pairs of relatives suggested that most dispersal occurred over short distances, with the distance between ‘related’ females significantly lower than that between related males (0.9 km versus 1.3 km). A spatial autocorrelation analysis showed high female relatedness across distances of up to 435 m, equivalent to half an average home range width. Conversely, male pairs had low relatedness across 0 to 870 m. These results suggested that female young often settle next to their mother, while males avoid nesting within their father’s home range. Both limited natal and ‘mating’ dispersal may have contributed to the strong genetic structure previously reported for this species.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:molecular ecology, population structure, homomorphic, marsupial, overlap promiscuity, paternity, sex-biased dispersal
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:83766
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2013-03-21
Last Modified:2014-04-10

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