Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods

W Telfer, A GRIFFITHS, David Bowman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The rock-dwelling macropod species of the tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia, are behaviourally elusive and difficult to observe in their rugged habitats. Hence, little is understood about their ecology. We evaluated the potential of using scats (faecal pellets) as a survey tool for this faunal assemblage by: (1) developing a key to the scats of the species; (2) examining the rates of loss and decomposition of short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale brachyotis) scats in these tropical environments; and (3) comparing the distribution of scats of P. brachyotis with the species' use of space and habitats as determined with radio-telemetry. Classification tree modelling discriminated the scats of the seven macropod species, primarily on the basis of width. The reliability of identification was greatly improved with larger sample sizes and inclusion of a habitat parameter. Rates of scat loss and decay were variable and the greatest losses occurred in the wet season, particularly on sandy soils. Scat censuses underestimated the total area used by P. brachyotis but the distribution of scats showed the same broad pattern of habitat use found by radio-telemetry. We conclude that scats can accurately indicate the presence and habitat preferences of rock-dwelling macropod species. � CSIRO 2006.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)325-334
    Number of pages10
    JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
    Volume54
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Fingerprint

    habitat use
    rocks
    radio telemetry
    habitats
    rock
    radiotelemetry
    feces
    Petrogale
    habitat
    Northern Territory
    Macropodidae
    habitat preferences
    tropical environment
    sandy soils
    fecal pellet
    pellets
    tropics
    wet season
    habitat selection
    sandy soil

    Cite this

    Telfer, W ; GRIFFITHS, A ; Bowman, David. / Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods. In: Australian Journal of Zoology. 2006 ; Vol. 54, No. 5. pp. 325-334.
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    title = "Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods",
    abstract = "The rock-dwelling macropod species of the tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia, are behaviourally elusive and difficult to observe in their rugged habitats. Hence, little is understood about their ecology. We evaluated the potential of using scats (faecal pellets) as a survey tool for this faunal assemblage by: (1) developing a key to the scats of the species; (2) examining the rates of loss and decomposition of short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale brachyotis) scats in these tropical environments; and (3) comparing the distribution of scats of P. brachyotis with the species' use of space and habitats as determined with radio-telemetry. Classification tree modelling discriminated the scats of the seven macropod species, primarily on the basis of width. The reliability of identification was greatly improved with larger sample sizes and inclusion of a habitat parameter. Rates of scat loss and decay were variable and the greatest losses occurred in the wet season, particularly on sandy soils. Scat censuses underestimated the total area used by P. brachyotis but the distribution of scats showed the same broad pattern of habitat use found by radio-telemetry. We conclude that scats can accurately indicate the presence and habitat preferences of rock-dwelling macropod species. � CSIRO 2006.",
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    Telfer, W, GRIFFITHS, A & Bowman, D 2006, 'Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol. 54, no. 5, pp. 325-334.

    Scats can reveal the presence and habitat use of cryptic rock-dwelling macropods. / Telfer, W; GRIFFITHS, A; Bowman, David.

    In: Australian Journal of Zoology, Vol. 54, No. 5, 2006, p. 325-334.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    AU - Bowman, David

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    N2 - The rock-dwelling macropod species of the tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia, are behaviourally elusive and difficult to observe in their rugged habitats. Hence, little is understood about their ecology. We evaluated the potential of using scats (faecal pellets) as a survey tool for this faunal assemblage by: (1) developing a key to the scats of the species; (2) examining the rates of loss and decomposition of short-eared rock-wallaby (Petrogale brachyotis) scats in these tropical environments; and (3) comparing the distribution of scats of P. brachyotis with the species' use of space and habitats as determined with radio-telemetry. Classification tree modelling discriminated the scats of the seven macropod species, primarily on the basis of width. The reliability of identification was greatly improved with larger sample sizes and inclusion of a habitat parameter. Rates of scat loss and decay were variable and the greatest losses occurred in the wet season, particularly on sandy soils. Scat censuses underestimated the total area used by P. brachyotis but the distribution of scats showed the same broad pattern of habitat use found by radio-telemetry. We conclude that scats can accurately indicate the presence and habitat preferences of rock-dwelling macropod species. � CSIRO 2006.

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