Biodiversity Assessment Technical Report


APPENDIX G: Life history parameters - priority fauna species



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APPENDIX G: Life history parameters - priority fauna species


1. MAMMALS
Spot-tailed Quoll

Dasyurus maculatus

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Medium

  • Range size within region: (ha): 140 000

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): 12

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown

  • Density: Unknown

  • Home Range (ha): 614 - 1067 females, 1287 - 1482 ha males

  • Source: Mansergh (1984), Belcher (1995a)

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Wide

  • Vegetation types used in the region: wet forest, dry forest

  • Source: Mansergh (1984), S. Smith pers. comm.

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Unknown, only six Atlas of Victorian Wildlife records in the past decade plus several unconfirmed sightings

Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, S. Smith pers. comm

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Declined

  • Source: Mansergh (1984)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: Low

  • Source: Mansergh (1984), LCC (1991), Belcher (1995b)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: High

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: 6km has been recorded for males with radio collars but the animals were often out of range indicating movements of > 6 km

  • Source: Belcher (1995a)

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: High

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): 1

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 5

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 1

  • Time of year young born/hatch: June-August

  • Source: Fleay (1940), Settle (1978), Edgar and Belcher in Strahan (1995)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Unknown

  • Average lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Source: C. Belcher pers. comm.

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 4000-7000

  • Length (mm): Snout-vent 350-450 females, 380-759 males

  • Source: Edgar and Belcher in Strahan (1995)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: non-colonial

  • Territoriality: females and males territorial, several males may enter females territory during the breeding season

  • Source: Belcher (1995a)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: carnivore, scavenger, insectivore

Source: Green and Scarborough (1990), Belcher (1995c)

THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking ( 1) Mansergh and Belcher (1992), C. Belcher pers. comm.

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (2) C. Belcher pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (3) Mansergh (1984), Mansergh and Belcher (1992), C. Belcher pers. comm.

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (2) Mansergh (1984), Lumsden et al (1991), Mansergh and Belcher (1992), C. Belcher pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (2) Mansergh and Belcher (1992), C. Belcher pers. comm.

6. Grazing: Ranking (-)

7. Disease: Ranking (0) Mansergh (1984)

8. Illegal harvesting: Ranking (0)



9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (1) Mansergh (1984)

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (-)



11. Roading: Ranking (1) C. Belcher pers. comm.

12 Recreation: Ranking (0)

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans: Ranking (0)

14. Other: Ranking (0)


Current Management:

The Spot-tailed Quoll is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (CNR 1995a). An Action Statement has been prepared for this species (Mansergh and Belcher 1992) and the progress of management actions was reviewed in 1995. Intended management actions relevant to the Central Highlands include the implementation of predator control programs that minimise non-target mortality of Spot-tailed Quolls, the recording of all sightings on the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, the protection of sites important for scientific research such as latrine or den sites by a minimum 200m interim buffer zone pending formal management prescriptions, and the input of relevant research findings to the Central Highlands Forest Management Plan. This document is currently being developed.


Comments: Spot-tailed Quolls are partly arboreal carnivorous marsupials which occupy large home ranges. Most prey consists of mammals of 0.5-5.0 kg. The species utilises caves, hollow logs and hollow trees for shelter and breeding (Mansergh 1984). Within the Central Highlands there are less than ten incidental records of the Spot-tailed Quoll, (Atlas of Victorian Wildlife) and its status is unknown. There have been no systematic surveys for the species and the limited information available on its ecology is from studies in other areas.
The most significant threats to the Spot-tailed Quoll within the Central Highlands include wildfire and logging, which can result in the loss of den sites and reduction in the availability of prey. Competition for prey items with cats and foxes may be a significant threat to the species as there appears to be some dietary overlap (Mansergh 1984, Lumsden et al. 1991, Mansergh and Belcher 1992). The Spot-tailed Quoll is also susceptible to non-target poisoning from pest animal control methods which may result in the death of individuals or local populations (Mansergh and Belcher 1992, C. Belcher pers. comm.). Secondary poisoning through ingestion of baited rabbits may also threaten the Spot-tailed Quoll on a local scale (Mansergh and Belcher 1992). Disturbances which result in habitat fragmentation (logging, clearing, roading) represent a threat due to the species’ large home range requirements (C. Belcher pers. comm.).

Brush-tailed Phascogale

Phascogale tapoatafa

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Medium

  • Range size within region: (ha): 300 000

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): 25

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: 400 breeding females within Valley Forest and Grassy Dry Forest, the population within poorer habitat unknown

  • Density: 0.025 females/ha maximum density in prime habitat

  • Home Range (ha): 20-86

  • Source: Traill and Coates (1993), Soderquist (1995), T. Soderquist pers. comm.

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Valley Forest, Grassy Dry Forest, Shrubby Foothill Forest, Herb-rich Foothill Forest, Wet Forest

  • Source: LCC (1973), Cuttle (1982), Brown et al. (1989), Menkhorst (1995), T. Soderquist pers. comm.

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Declined

  • Source: T. Soderquist pers. comm.

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Declined

  • Source: Mansergh in Menkhorst (1995)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: High

  • Source: Cuttle (1982)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: High

  • Average distances dispersed: 2.8 km - from males released into the home ranges of established females

  • Maximum distance dispersed: 6.5 km - many juvenile males moved out of radiotracking range, hence this may be an underestimate.

  • Source: Soderquist and Lill (1995), Rhind (1996)

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: High

  • Age of sexual maturity (mths): 10-11

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 7-8

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 1

  • Time of year young born/hatch: July, August

  • Source: Cuttle (1982), Soderquist (1993)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Short-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): 1

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 2 females, 1 males

  • Source: Cuttle (1982), Soderquist (1993)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 106-212 (156) females, 175-311(231) males

  • Length (cm): 148-233 (181) females, 160-261 (199) males

  • Source: Cuttle (1982)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Non-colonial, occasionally nest together

  • Territoriality: Females territorial

  • Source: Soderquist (1995), Soderquist and Ealy (1994)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Insectivore (invertebrates), Nectarivore

  • Source: Traill and Coates (1993)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (1) T. Soderquist pers. comm.

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (2) Mansergh in Menkhorst (1995)

3. Logging: Ranking (1) Mansergh in Menkhorst (1995), Rhind (1996)

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (3) Soderquist (1993)

5. Pest Control: Ranking (1) T. Soderquist pers. comm.

6. Grazing: Ranking (1) Mansergh in Menkhorst (1995), T. Soderquist pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (1) T. Soderquist pers. comm.

8. Illegal harvesting: Ranking (0)



9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (3) Fleming et al. (1979), Mansergh in Menkhorst (1995), T. Soderquist pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (1) Lumsden et al. (1991), Mansergh in Menkhorst (1995), T. Soderquist pers. comm.

11. Roading: Ranking (1) T. Soderquist pers. comm.

12 Recreation: Ranking (0)

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans Ranking (0)

14. Other: Ranking (-)


Current Management:

The Brush-tailed Phascogale has been listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and an Action Statement is being prepared. There are no current management prescriptions for the species in the Central Highlands.


Comments: The Brush-tailed Phascogale is a mainly arboreal insectivore which requires large areas of habitat to sustain populations. Females occupy large exclusive intrasexual home ranges (~ 40ha), hence the species occurs at very low population densities. The species is hollow- dependent, utilising tree hollows for breeding and shelter (Mansergh in Meankhorst 1995).
Within the Central Highlands Brush-tailed Phascogales have been recorded from Valley Forest and Grassy Dry Forest, Ecological Vegetation Communities not suitable for timber production (CNR and AHC 1994). The species has also been recorded from Wet Forest (Brown et al. 1989), although it is unknown how important this habitat is for Brush-tailed Phascogales and it is likely this record is from an area where dry forest is nearby (T. Soderquist pers. comm.). Records of the species from the south-east of the Central Highlands near Noojee and Moe are all pre 1970; recent surveys in this area have failed to locate the species and it is likely to be locally extinct (T. Soderquist pers. comm.).
Disturbances that result in the loss of tree hollows and habitat fragmentation are major threats to the Brush-tailed Phascogale (T. Soderquist pers. comm.). The species is known to occur in the mixed rural, urban and forested land north-east of Melbourne and clearing for urban development is a major threat. Predation by introduced species is also a major threat (Soderquist 1993). Wildfire results in loss of critical habitat components and individuals and is a moderate threat (Mansergh in Menkhorst 1995). Logging also results in loss of critical habitat components but is only a minor threat as logging of the species preferred habitat in the Central Highlands is minimal (CNR and AHC 1994, G. Beech pers. comm.).

Dingo

Canis familiaris dingo

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Unknown, given the difficulty in distinguishing dogs and dingoes

  • Range size within region: (ha): Unknown

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): Unknown

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Unknown probably low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown

  • Density: Unknown

  • Home Range (ha): 2700, dependent on habitat and prey numbers

  • Source: Harden (1985), E. Jones pers. comm.

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Wide

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Unknown

  • Source: Menkhorst (1995)

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Unknown

  • Source: Menkhorst (1995)

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Increased

  • Source: Corbett (1995)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: Probably low

  • Source: Harden (1985)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: High

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown

  • Source: Harden (1985)

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: Low, given packs have only one breeding pair, hence a high proportion of non-breeding adults

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): 1-4 females, 2-3 males

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 5.5

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 1

  • Time of year young born/hatch: March to September, peak between June and August

  • Source: Jones and Stevens (1988)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Long-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 12 - may have been hybrids

  • Source: Corbett (1995)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (kg): 15.5 females, 18.6 males

  • Length (mm): 1219 females, 1245 males

  • Source: Jones (1990)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Colonial

  • Territoriality: Territorial

  • Source: Corbett (1995)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary, animals living in packs

  • Mode of feeding: Carnivore, medium to large mammals are the major prey item

  • Source: Brown and Triggs (1990), Corbett (1995), Triggs et al. (1984)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (1) Catling (1991), Catling and Burt (1995)

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (1)

3. Logging: Ranking (1) Catling (1991), Catling and Burt (1995)

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (2) Brown and Triggs (1990)

5. Pest Control: Ranking (2) Corbett (1995), Menkhorst (1995)

6. Grazing: Ranking (1) Catling and Burt (1995)

7. Disease: Ranking (-)

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0)

9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (0)

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (0)

11. Roading: Ranking (0)

12 Recreation: Ranking (0)

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans: Ranking (0)



14. Other, Genetic dilution, inbreeding with feral and domestic dogs : Ranking (1) Newsome and Corbett (1982), Newsome and Corbett (1985), Jones and Stevens (1988), Jones (1990), Corbett (1995)
Current Management:

Dingoes are classified as “insufficently known” in Victoria (CNR 1995a). This classification is partly due to the difficulties in distinguishing between Dingoes, feral dogs and their hybrids (Menkhorst 1995). There are no current management prescriptions for this species in the Central Highlands.


Comments: Dingoes are the largest terrestrial predator in Australia. They are a social animal living in packs of 3-12 animals consisting of one dominant breeding pair and other non-breeding animals. The size of the pack appears to be related to the availability of resources (Corbett 1995). Dingoes feed on medium to large mammals such as brushtail and ringtail possums, swamp wallabies and common wombats (Triggs et al. 1984, Brown and Triggs 1990).
Records of Dingoes on the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife are scarce, with only two records from within the Central Highlands. When Dingo and wild dog records are combined the number of records increases dramatically. It is not known what proportion of these records are of pure Dingoes and the status of the species within the Central Highlands is unknown.
Trapping, baiting and shooting for wild dogs occurs throughout the Central Highlands, and is thought to be a moderate threat to Dingoes (Corbett 1995, Menkhorst 1995). The effect on the Dingo population is unknown but can be intense, reducing local population numbers where control efforts are high (Corbett 1995). However, it may result in the fracture of the social group causing an increase in breeding females (Corbett 1995). Competition between foxes and Dingoes is also considered a moderate threat to the species due to the dietary ovelap in prey items (Brown and Triggs 1990).
Inbreeding with feral and domestic dogs, resulting in hybrids, is considered a minor threat to the genetic integrity of the Dingo. Jones (1990), after a detailed morphological study, concluded that little hybridisation has occured.
In a study of ground dwelling mammals in south eastern NSW, Catling and Burt (1995) found the Dingo to be positively correlated with high habitat complexity. Therefore, activities which simplify the vegetation structure such as control burning, grazing and logging, may be detrimental to populations of Dingo. Widespread severe wildfire may result in death of individuals and a reduction in available prey and cause population declines.

Swamp Antechinus

Antechinus minimus

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Small

  • Range size within region: (ha): < 270

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): < 1

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown

  • Density: Unknown

  • Home Range (ha): Unknown, 1 individual tracked over 1 day moved within 0.53 ha.

  • Source: Aberton et al. (1994)

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Wet Heathland

  • Source: LCC (1991)

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Unknown

  • Source: J. Seebeck pers. comm.

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Probably declined (based on known habitat)

  • Source: Lumsden et al. (1991)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: High

  • Source: Wilson and Bourne (1984)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: Low

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown

  • Source: B. Wilson pers. comm.

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: High

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): 1

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 6

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 1

  • Time of year young born/hatch: July - September

  • Source: Wilson and Bourne (1984), Wilson (1986), Menkhorst (1995)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Short-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): 1, males and females

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 1 males, 3 females

  • Source: Wilson and Bourne (1984), Wilson (1986), Aberton et al. (1994)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 24-65 (42) females, 30-103 (65) males

  • Length (mm): 98-117 (110) females, 103-140 (120) males

  • Source: Wakefield and Warneke (1963)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Unknown

  • Territoriality: Territorial

  • Source: B. Wilson pers. comm.

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Insectivore

  • Source: Wainer and Wilson in Strahan (1995)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (1) D. Drangsholt pers. comm.

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (3) Aberton et al. (1994), Menkhorst (1995), B. Wilson pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (0) D. Drangsholt pers. comm.



4. Introduced Species: Ranking (2) Menkhorst (1995), D. Drangsholt pers. comm., B. Wilson pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (0)



6. Grazing: Ranking (1) D. Drangsholt pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (-)

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0)

9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (0) Andrew et al. (1984), D. Drangsholt pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (0)

11. Roading: Ranking (0)




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