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10 February 2016 Home range and activity patterns measured with GPS collars in spotted-tailed quolls
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The spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is the largest marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia. It usually occurs at relatively low population densities and its cryptic nature makes it exceedingly difficult to observe in its natural habitat. On the mainland the species is also listed as nationally endangered and more information is needed to direct any meaningful conservation effort. In this study we aimed to elucidate quolls’ spatial requirements and activity patterns using GPS collars on 10 males and 4 females. Quolls were predominantly nocturnal but some individuals showed pronounced daytime activity. There was no apparent seasonal shift in the timing of activity. The movement of quolls appeared to be confined to home ranges that were relatively large for predators of their size. Furthermore, males used home ranges about three times as large as that of the smaller females. There appeared to be some spatial segregation between not only females, which have been considered territorial, but also males. Overall, it is likely that the larger areas used by males is partly caused by the sexual dimorphism in body mass that entails differences in prey requirements and spectrum, but probably is also a function of a promiscuous mating system. All of these could explain the observed more unidirectional movement and larger distances travelled per day by males.
© CSIRO 2015
Gerhard Körtner, Nerida Holznagel, Peter J. S. Fleming and Guy Ballard "Home range and activity patterns measured with GPS collars in spotted-tailed quolls," Australian Journal of Zoology 63(6), (10 February 2016).
Received: 30 July 2015; Accepted: 1 January 2016; Published: 10 February 2016

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