The diet of the brush-tailed rabbit-rat (Conilurus penicillatus) from the monsoonal tropics of the Northern Territory, Australia

R Firth, E Jefferys, John Casimir Zichy-Woinarski, Richard Noske

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The diet of the brush-tailed rabbit-rat (Conilurus penicillatus) was assessed by microscopic analysis of faecal samples from 35 individuals collected from three different sites in the Northern Territory (Garig Gunak Barlu National Park (Cobourg Peninsula), Kakadu National Park and Melville Island) at various times of the year during 2000-02. Seed was the most abundant item in the overall diet of C. penicillatus, making up 68% of identifiable particles, with smaller proportions contributed by leaves (21%), plant stems (8%) and insects (2%). ANOSIM tests revealed no difference in diet between the sexes and seasons, but there was a significant difference in the diet between the sites, with seed material present in 74% of the samples from Cobourg and in 62% and 58% of samples from Kakadu and Melville respectively. Leaf matter was present in 19% of samples from Cobourg and in 26% and 24% of samples from Kakadu and Melville respectively. Stem material was present in only 6% of samples from Cobourg and in 8% and 13% of samples from Kakadu and Melville respectively. Insect matter was present in small quantities across all three sites. The high proportion of seed in the diet suggests that C. penicillatus is primarily granivorous. � CSIRO 2005.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)517-523
    Number of pages7
    JournalWildlife Research
    Volume32
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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