Biodiversity Assessment Technical Report



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12 Recreation: Ranking (2) D. Drangsholt pers. comm.

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

14. Other: Ranking (0)
Current Management:

The Swamp Antechinus is classified as “rare” in Victoria (CNR 1995a). There are no current management prescriptions for the species in the Central Highlands.


Comments: The Swamp Antechinus is a terrestrial species that uses its long foreclaws to forage in the leaf litter and soil for insects and other invertebrates (Wainer and Wilson in Strahan 1995). Most records of the species are from coastal areas. There are three records of Swamp Antechinus from the Central Highlands, all east of Gembrook within the Bunyip State Park (Atlas of Victorian Wildlife). These animals were located in wet heathland in 1981 and 1983, but have not been recorded since. The current status of this population is unknown (D. Drangsholt and B. Wilson pers. comm.).
Due to the small, isolated nature of the population, serious threats to the the Central Highlands population of the Swamp Antechinus include wildfire and predation (Menkhorst 1995). One population is known to have declined, possibly to extinction, as a result of wildfire ( B. Wilson pers. comm.) and wildfire is considered a major threat. Cats and foxes are known to be present in Bunyip State Park (D. Drangsholt pers. comm.) and predation is considered a moderate threat to the species. Recreational 4-wheel driving and trail bikes are popular in the park and may cause habitat degradation; this is thought to be a moderate threat to the Swamp Antechinus (D. Drangsholt pers. comm.).

Broad-toothed Rat

Mastacomys fuscus

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Medium

  • Range size within region: (ha): 240 000-330 000, likely to be over estimate as this species is found along drainage lines

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): 20-28

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, CNR and AHC (1994)

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown

  • Density: Unknown, dependent on habitat

  • Home Range (km2): 4.9 females, 10.7 males

  • Source: Bubela et al. (1991), R. Wallis pers. comm.

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Wet Forest, Damp Forest, Montane Riparian Thicket, Riparian Forest, Sub-alpine Woodland, also has been located in Pinus radiata forest with suitable ground cover

  • Source: Seebeck (1971), Wallis et al. (1982), Lumsden et al. (1991)

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Unknown

  • Source: R. Wallis pers. comm.

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

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

  • Source: Lumsden et al. (1991)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: Probably low

  • Source: Carron (1985), Happold (1989)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: Low

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown

  • Source: R. Wallis pers. comm.

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: Low

  • Age of sexual maturity (mths): 10-12

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 1-3

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 2

  • Time of year young born/hatch: October-March

  • Source: Calaby and Wimbush (1964), Wallis et al. (1982), Happold (1989), Bubela et al. (1991)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Unknown, possibly long-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Source: Carron (1985), Happold (1989)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 110-130(118) females, 122-144(131) males

  • Length (mm): 154 females, 172 males

  • Source: Wallis et al. (1982)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Colonial during winter in subalpine region

  • Territoriality: Females territorial

  • Source: Wallis et al. (1982), Happold (1989)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Herbivore (monocotyledons)

  • Source: Calamby and Wimbush (1964)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (1) R. Wallis pers. comm.

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (1) R. Wallis pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (1) R. Wallis pers. comm.

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (3) Seebeck (1971), Brunner and Bertuch (1976), Brunner et al. (1977), Green and Osborne (1981), Wallis and Brunner (1987) May and Norton (1996)

5. Pest Control: Ranking (2) H. Brunner pers. comm.

6. Grazing: Ranking (2) Menkhorst (1995)

7. Disease: Ranking (0)

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0)

9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (1) Seebeck (1971)

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (0)

11. Roading: Ranking (0)

12 Recreation: Ranking (0)

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

14. Other: Ranking (0)


Current Management:

The Broad-toothed Rat is classified as “rare” in Victoria (CNR 1995a). There are no current management prescriptions for this species in the Central Highlands.


Comments: The Broad-toothed Rat is a specialist herbivore which feeds on grasses and sedges. Due to its specialised habitat requirements, populations are localised and patchily distributed (Menkhorst 1995). While this species does occur in forests, this habitat appears suboptimal. Preferred habitat includes treeless areas with few shrubs and a dense cover of sedges and grasses. Sites are usually near permanent flowing water and are often on slight slopes (Menkhorst 1995, H. Brunner pers. comm.).
A population of the Broad-toothed Rat, occuring at comparatively high densities, has recently been located at Labertouche in a slashed area beneath high tension powerlines. The use of chemicals to control wattles and eucalypts at this site is considered a moderate threat to this population (H. Brunner pers. comm.).
Predation by foxes and cats are a major threat to the Broad-toothed Rat in the Central Highlands, particularly as populations are highly localised and disjunct (Menkhorst 1995). Grazing by cattle and trampling of sedgeland, particularly in alpine areas, results in loss of food and cover and is also a major threat to the species (Menkhorst 1995).

Smoky Mouse

Pseudomys fumeus

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Medium

  • Range size within region: (ha): 110 000 - 220 000

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): 9-18

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, CNR and AHC (1994)

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown

  • Density: Unknown

  • Home Range (ha): Unknown

  • Source: Menkhorst and Seebeck (1981), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Subalpine Woodland, Montane Dry Woodland, Foothill Forest Complex, Heathy Dry Forest

  • Source: Fleming et al. (1979), Menkhorst and Seebeck (1981), Lumsden et al. (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: Declined

  • Source: Menkhorst and Seebeck (1981)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: High

  • Source: Cockburn (1981b)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: Probably low

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown

  • Source: Cockburn (1981b)


LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: High

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): 1

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 3

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 2

  • Time of year young born/hatch: October-January; based on enlarged nipples

  • Source: Cockburn (1981b)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Short-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): 1

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 2

  • Source: Cockburn (1981b)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 45-90 (70)

  • Length (mm): 85-100 (90)

  • Source: Cockburn in Strahan (1995)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Unknown

  • Territoriality: Territorial

  • Source: Cockburn (1981b)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Omnivore; fungi, seed, insects, flowers

  • Source: Cockburn (1981a), Cockburn (1981b)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (2) Fleming et al. (1979), Menkhorst and Seebeck (1981), Menkhorst (1995), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (2) Fleming et al. (1979), Menkhorst and Seebeck (1981), Menkhorst (1995), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (1) Fleming et al. (1979), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (1) Cockburn (1981b), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (0) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

6. Grazing: Ranking (0) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (-) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (1) Fleming et al. (1979), Menkhorst (1995), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (-) J. Seebeck pers. comm.



11. Roading: Ranking (1) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

12 Recreation: Ranking (1) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans:Ranking (0) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

14. Other: Ranking (0)
Current Management:

The Smoky Mouse is classified as “vulnerable” in Victoria (CNR 1995a) and has been recommended for listing under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. There are no current management prescriptions for this species in the Central Highlands. The LCC (1993) recommend protection of the Smoky Mouse within the Central Forest Management Area.


Comments: The Smoky Mouse is an omnivorous heath specialist. Studies in the Grampians found fungus and winter flowering plants (eg. Correa spp. Leucopogon spp. and plants from the Fabaceae family) were major food items. Invertebrates are also eaten (Cockburn 1981a). Records of the Smoky Mouse within the Central Highlands are in the north-east, Upper Yarra, Upper Thompson and Big River areas. The current status of these populations is unknown.
The Smoky Mouse appears reliant on understorey vegetation components strongly influenced by fire frequency and intensity (Menkhorst 1995). As a result, inappropriate fire regimes, eg. too frequent burning or absence of fire, may lead to the development of unsuitable successional stages and is a moderate threat to the species in the Central Highlands. There is a lack of information on the species’ ecological requirements, particularly in relation to fire (Lee 1995). Planned fire may be beneficial for this species.
The preferred habitat of the Smoky Mouse often occurs along ridges, and the construction of roads along ridge tracks may represent a threat to the species. Roading removes and disturbs habitat and also makes areas accessible to recreation vehicles. This may damage vegetation and cause soil compaction (J. Seebeck pers. comm.).

Common Dunnart

Sminthopsis murina

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Small

  • Range size within region: (ha): 45 000- 120 000

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): 4-10

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, CNR and AHC (1994)

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown

  • Density: Unknown

  • Home Range (ha): Unknown

  • Source: Menkhorst (1995), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Valley Forest, Grassy Dry Forest

  • Source: Morton et al. (1980), Lumsden et al. (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: Fox and Whitford (1982)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: Low

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown

  • Source: J. Seebeck pers. comm.

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: High

  • Age of sexual maturity (mths): 8-11

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 8 (4-10)

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 2

  • Time of year young born/hatch: September, December

  • Source: Fox and Whitford (1982), Lee et al. (1982), Menkhorst (1995)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Short-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): 1

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 2 females

  • Source: Fox (1982)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 10-22 (14) females, 16-28 (20) males

  • Length (mm): 64-92 (76) females, 76-101 (81) males

  • Source: Fox in Stahan (1995)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Unknown

  • Territoriality: Unknown; males probably during breeding season

  • Source: Fox and Whitford (1982)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Insectivore, possibly an opportunistic predator, closely related White-footed Dunnart which has been recorded eating frogs

  • Source: Fox and Archer (1984), Hutchings (1996)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (1) J. Seebeck pers. comm.



2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (2) Coventry and Dixon (1984), Fox and McKay (1981), Fox (1982), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (0)



4. Introduced Species: Ranking (1) Brunner et al. (1976), J. Seebeck pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (1) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

6. Grazing: Ranking (2) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (-) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0) J. Seebeck pers. comm.



9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (2) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (0) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

11. Roading: Ranking (1) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

12 Recreation: Ranking (1) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans: Ranking (0) J. Seebeck pers. comm.

14. Other: Ranking (0)
Current Management:

The Common Dunnart is classified as “rare” in Victoria (CNR 1995a). There are no current managment prescriptions for the species in the Central Highlands.


Comments: The distribution of the Common Dunnart is related to habitat structure rather than floristics; midstorey complexity and ground layer cover appear determining factors (Fox 1982). In Victoria, the Common Dunnart inhabits dry forest and woodland with an open midstorey, sparse ground cover and often dense leaf and bark litter (Menkhorst 1995). Within the Central Highlands records of the species are concentrated in the south-west around Christmas Hills, Kangaroo Ground and Strathewen (Atlas of Victorian Wildlife). The current status of the Common Dunnart in the Central Highlands is unknown.
Clearing for urban development, and the associated habitat modification, is a moderate threat to the Common Dunnart in the Central Highlands. Grazing on private property which contains suitable habitat also causes considerable and possibly irreversable habitat modification (J. Seebeck pers. comm.) and is a moderate threat to the species. Severe widespread wildfire can devastate small populations and is also considered a moderate threat (J. Seebeck pers. comm.).


Squirrel Glider

Petaurus norfolcensis

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Small

  • Range size within region: (km2): 20

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): < 1

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown, very small

  • Density: 0.4 /ha

  • Home Range (ha): 13

  • Source: Traill and Coates (1993)

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Roadside remnants, Floodplain Riparian Woodland

  • Source: Menkhorst et al. (1988)

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Probably declined

  • Source: J. Alexander pers. comm.

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined Declined:

  • Source: Menkhorst et al. (1988)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: Unknown

  • Source: J. Alexander pers. comm.

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: High, provided continuous tree cover is present

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown

  • Source: J. Alexander pers. comm.

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: Low

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): Unknown

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 1-2

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

  • Time of year young born/hatch: Throughout year

  • Source: Smith (1979), Quin (1995)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Long-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): at least 5-6

  • Source: Quin (1995)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 190-300 (230)

  • Length (mm): 180-230 (210)

  • Source: Suckling in Strahan (1995)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Colonial

  • Territoriality: No

  • Source: Quin (1995)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Exudivore, Insectivore (arboreal invertebrates)

  • Source: Menkhorst and Collier (1987)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (2) J. Alexander pers. comm.

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (1) J. Alexander pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (0) Meredith (1984), J. Alexander pers. comm.



4. Introduced Species: Ranking (2) Alexander 1981, J. Alexander pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (0) J. Alexander pers. comm.



6. Grazing: Ranking (2) Alexander (1981), Alexander (1989), J. Alexander pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (-) J. Alexander pers. comm.

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0) J. Alexander pers. comm.

9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (2) Meredith (1984), Menkhorst et al. (1988), Alexander (1989), J. Alexander pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (0) J. Alexander pers. comm.



11. Roading: Ranking (2) Alexander (1981), Alexander (1989), J. Alexander pers. comm.

12 Recreation: Ranking (0)

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

14. Other: Ranking (-)


Current Management:

The Squirrel Glider is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. An Action Statement is currently being prepared for this species. There are no current management prescriptions for the species in the Central Highlands.


Comments: The Squirrel Glider feeds on plant exudates and arboreal invertebrates, and requires tree hollows for breeding and shelter (Menkhorst 1995). Within Victoria it is found predominantly in the north-east and west. The Central Highlands is the southerly extension of its known range and there are very few records of the species from the area (Atlas of Victorian Wildlife). Squirrel Gliders have been recorded close to the Goulburn River just south of Seymour. It is not known if this area has a resident population or is visited intermittently. A population of Squirrel Gliders exists just east of the study area along Wales Road (Alexander 1989).
Due to extensive clearing in the past, much of the habitat of the Squirrel Glider is confined to narrow strips along roads or streams (Menkhorst 1995). Road maintenance and widening, fire prevention activities and grazing can result in further loss and degradation of isolated remnants of suitable habitat and are threats to the species (Menkhorst et al. 1988, Alexander 1989, J. Alexander pers. comm.). Squirrel Gliders require continuous tree cover for movement; gaps can prevent access to adjoining habitat and Gliders attempting to cross open space on the ground are highly vulnerable to predation (Alexander 1981, J. Alexander pers. comm.).


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