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26 September 2012 Reproductive ecology of wild tammar wallabies in natural and developed habitats on Garden Island, Western Australia
Lisa E. Schwanz, Kylie A. Robert
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Reproduction may be influenced by major environmental changes experienced by an entire population as well as variation within a population in maternal resource availability or quality. We examined relationships between body condition and reproductive traits in two wild populations of the seasonally breeding tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) on Garden Island, Western Australia, that differed in access to supplemental food resources. Body condition changed predictably over the year, with females losing condition over the dry summer and gaining condition over the winters, when lactation occurs and most annual precipitation falls. Body condition influenced reproduction, with females of greater body condition more likely to have a pouch young, and to have a larger pouch young, early in the reproductive season. This intrapopulation pattern was opposite to that seen across populations – females in a native bushland were in poorer condition yet were more likely to have pouch young, and had larger pouch young, in March than did females living in a water-supplemented habitat on a naval base. Body condition did not influence the probability of weaning a pouch young in a year, nor did reproductive success influence changes in body condition across seasons. Instead, annual variation in precipitation had a dramatic effect on population weaning success in the native bushland, but not on the naval base. In summary, individual variation in body condition as well as large climatic variation influenced the reproduction of tammar wallabies on Garden Island, but the nature of the effect depended on the different habitats experienced by the two study populations.

© CSIRO 2012
Lisa E. Schwanz and Kylie A. Robert "Reproductive ecology of wild tammar wallabies in natural and developed habitats on Garden Island, Western Australia," Australian Journal of Zoology 60(2), 111-119, (26 September 2012).
Received: 6 March 2012; Accepted: 1 July 2012; Published: 26 September 2012

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