The extent of mammalian movements often varies with size, sex and/or reproductive status. Fyke nets were set along streams and rivers near Melbourne (southern Victoria) from the mid-1990s to 2007, and in the Wimmera River catchment (western Victoria) from 1997 to 2005, to assess how far platypus of different age and sex classes travelled between captures and over longer periods. The mean distance between consecutive captures of adults did not vary significantly as intervals increased from 1–3 months to >3 years, suggesting that most individuals occupied stable ranges. However, adult females travelled, on average, only 35% as far between captures as males in southern Victoria, and 29% as far in the Wimmera. Up to half of this difference may be explained by variation in size-related metabolic requirements. Immature males and females respectively moved 61% and 53% as far, on average, as their adult equivalents, although two young males dispersed >40 km. Adults incrementally occupied up to 13.9 km of channel in the case of a male (based on six captures over 67 months) and 4.4 km of channel in the case of a female (based on five captures over 127 months).
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Vol. 60 • No. 5