Biodiversity Assessment Technical Report



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b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Long-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Source: L. Lumsden pers. comm.

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 10-14

  • Length (mm): 52-56 (54)

  • Source: Richards in Strahan (1995), L. Lumsden pers. comm.

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Colonial

  • Territoriality: Unknown, closely related to a Queensland species, male territorial

  • Source: Seebeck and Hamilton-Smith (1967), Dwyer (1970)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Insectivore, Piscivore

  • Source: Vestjens and Hall (1977), Robson (1984), Jansen (1987)


THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (1) L. Lumsden pers. comm.



2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (1) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (2) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (1) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (2) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

6. Grazing: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (-) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.



9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (1) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (2) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

11. Roading: Ranking (2) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

12. Recreation: Ranking (1) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans: Ranking (1) Seebeck and Hamilton-Smith (1967), L. Lumsden pers. comm.

14. Other: Ranking (0)


Current Management:

The Large-footed Myotis is classified as “rare” (FFG Act). Under the Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production (CNR 1996a) the water quality and riparian vegetation of permanent streams are protected by a buffer on either side of the stream of a minimum width of 20m. Trees must not be felled within or into buffer strips and machinery must not enter other than for construction and use of approved stream crossings. Such prescriptions afford some protection to the habitat and food resource of the Large-footed Myotis. The LCC (1993) recommend protection of the species within the Central Forest Management Area.


Comments: The Large-footed Myotis Myotis macropus, formerly known as Myotis adversus macropus, is a newly recognised species (Kitchener et al. 1995). The species is always associated with permanent, usually slow flowing water bodies, and is found in a wide range of vegetation communities associated with water. The Large-footed Myotis feeds on aquatic and flying insects and fish.
Targeted surveys have been conducted for the Large-footed Myotis in the Central Highlands but the species was caught at a only a few sites (5 of 42 trap sites) (Lumsden et al. 1991). It has been recorded on the Goulburn, O’Shannassy, Taponga, Tyers and Yarra Rivers as well as along smaller creeks including Badger Creek at Healseville and Walsh Creek in the Upper Yarra Catchment (Lumsden et al. 1991).
Within the Central Highlands the Large-footed Myotis has been recorded roosting in tunnels with Common Bent-wing Bats (Seebeck and Hamilton-Smith 1967) and in tree hollows near Healesville (N. Schedvin pers. comm. in Lumsden and Menkhorst 1995). Some roost trees were overhanging the Yarra River while others were up to 400m from the water. It is thought that tree hollows are likely to be the more common roosting site for this species (L. Lumsden pers. comm.). However, research is required to determine roosting requirements particularly the relative dependence on caves versus tree hollows (Lumsden and Menkhorst in Menkhorst 1995)
Pest control, mining/quarrying and roading were identified as moderate threats to the Large-footed Myotis in the Central Highlands (L. Lumsden pers. comm.). These processes could potentially affect water quality and hence may secondarily impact on the species which depends on instream fauna; chemicals used for pest control and mining may drain into the waterways, and siltation of streams as a result of poor road construction and maintenance, may all affect the species’ prey.

Grey-headed Flying-fox

Pteropus poliocephalus

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Small

  • Range size within region: (ha): 20 000

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): < 2

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown, a small number intermittently recorded from the Central Highlands

  • Density: Unknown

  • Home Range: overnight foraging area 15-50 km from camp

  • Source: Tidemann in Strahan (1995), L. Lumsden pers. comm.

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Planted fruit trees, Box/Ironbark forest

  • Source: Menkhorst and Dixon (1985), Craig (1996)

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Increased

  • Source: Aston (1987), Peake and Carr (1995)

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Increased

  • Source: Menkhorst and Dixon (1985)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: High

  • Source: L. Lumsden pers. comm.

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: High

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown

  • Source: Menkhorst (1995), L. Lumsden pers. comm.

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: Low

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): 1-2 females, 2.5 males

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 1

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

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

  • Source: Nelson (1965), Martin et al. (1987), Tidemann in Strahan (1995)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Long-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): 7-8

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 20 (in captivity)

  • Source: Martin et al. (1987)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 600-1000 (700)

  • Length (mm): 230-289 (255)

  • Source: Tidemann in Strahan (1995)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Colonial

  • Territoriality: Territorial, within roost

  • Source: Nelson (1965)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Nomadic, Migratory and Sedentary, individuals differ, also dependent on food supply

  • Mode of feeding: Nectivorous, Frugivorous

  • Source: Nelson (1965), Tidemann in Strahan (1995)

THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (1) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

6. Grazing: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (-) Suton and Hariono (1987), L. Lumsden pers. comm.

8. Illegal Harvesting: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.



9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (1) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

11. Roading: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

12. Recreation: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans: Ranking (0) L. Lumsden pers. comm.

14. Weather: Ranking (-)L. Lumsden pers. comm.



15 Other: Powerlines / Electrocution: Ranking (1) Luckhoff (1987), Aston (1987)
Current Management:

The Grey-headed Flying-fox is classified in Victoria as a “Restricted Colonial Breeding or Roosting Species” (CNR 1995a). There are no current management prescriptions for this species in the Central Highlands.


Comments: There are five records from three localities of the Grey-headed Flying-fox within the Central Highlands (The Atlas of Victorian Wildlife). Two records were from Warburton and the other from Christmas Hills. Although there are likely to be more occurences of the species within the area, it is unlikely that it is dependent on forest habitat and instead appears largely dependent on cultivated fruit trees (Menkhorst and Dixon 1985, Aston 1987, Peake 1996). Within the Central Highlands the Grey-headed Flying-fox is at the southerly most extension of its range. It is not in prime habitat or climate and the area is not important for the species’ survival (L. Lumsden pers. comm.).
The Grey-headed Flying-fox has been recorded feeding in flowering Ironbarks within the Central Highlands, and non-forestry clearing for urban development of Box/Ironbark forests in north-east Melbourne is identified as a moderate threat. Disease is an unknown threat; dead bats have recently been found to be carrying the Lyssavirus. It is unknown if Grey-headed Flying-foxes are long-term carriers of the virus and it has only recently been discovered by humans (L. Lumsden per. comm.), or if it is a new virus. If it is a new virus it may have a major impact on the species. The Grey-headed Flying-fox is at the limit of its climatic tolerance within the Central Highlands however, the impact of weather events are unknown.

2. BIRDS

Helmeted Honeyeater

Lichenostomus melanops cassidix

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Small

  • Range size within region: (ha): 20-25

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): <1

  • Source: B. Quin pers. comm.

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: 100-110 birds

  • Density: 6-8birds/ha

  • Home Range (ha): 0.3-0.5 male territories

  • Source: B. Quin pers. comm., Menkhorst and Middleton (1991).

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Narrow

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Mountain Swamp Gum Eucalyptus camphora swampland and Manna Gum E. viminalis-dominated riparian forest

  • Source: Pearce, Burgman and Franklin (1994)

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Increasing. 1987 32-36 adults within Yellingbo, 1994 100-110 adults within Yellingbo, numbers have remained relatively stable since 1994.

  • Source: Menkhorst and Middleton (1991), B. Quin pers. comm.

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Declined

  • Source: Menkhorst and Middleton (1991), B. Quin pers. comm.

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: Low

  • Source: B. Quin pers. comm.

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: Low

  • Average distances dispersed: Local movements during non-breeding, although basically sedentary species.

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unpaired birds and breeding females may move several kilometres over winter.

  • Source: Menkhorst and Middleton (1991), Runciman, Franklin and Menkhorst (1995), B. Quin pers. comm.

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: High

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): 20% breed one year after hatching

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 2

  • Mean no of clutches/litters/broods per year: 3

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

  • Source: Smales (1995), Quin (1996), Franklin et al. (1995)

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Long-lived

  • Average lifespan (yrs): 4

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 10

  • Source: Smales (1995), Menkhorst (1992)

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 32

  • Length (cm): 200

  • Source: Menkhorst (1992)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Colonial

  • Territoriality: Males defend territory year round

  • Source: Menkhorst and Middleton (1991), B. Quin pers. comm.

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Sedentary

  • Mode of feeding: Insectivore, nectarivore

  • Source: Menkhorst and Middleton (1991)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (0)



2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (3) Menkhorst and Middleton (1991), Menkhorst (1992), McCarthy (1996).

3. Logging: Ranking (1) B. Quin pers. comm.

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (1) B. Quin pers. comm.

5. Pest Control: Ranking (0)



6. Grazing: Ranking (1 ) B. Quin pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (2) B. Quin pers. comm.

8. Illegal harvesting: Ranking (0)



9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (1) B. Quin pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (0 )

11. Roading: Ranking (0)

12 Recreation: Ranking (1) B. Quin pers. comm.

13. Vandalism/Disturbance by Humans: Ranking (1) B. Quin pers. comm.

14. Other: Interspecific competition: Ranking (3) Pearce et al. (1995), B. Quin pers. comm. Enhanced Greenhouse Effect: Ranking (2) Bennett et al. (1991), B. Quin pers. comm.
Current Management:

The Helmeted Honeyeater and the Sedge-rich Eucalyptus camphora Swamp Community are listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. The Helmeted Honeyeater is also listed under the Commonwealth Endangered Species Protection Act 1992. A Recovery Plan for the Helmeted Honeyeater is in operation (Menkhorst and Middleton 1991). Actions include intensive monitoring of breeding biology, protection of nests, control of Bell Miners, captive breeding and reintroductions, revegetation of habitat and research into the natural hydrological patterns of the species’ habitat.


Comments: The Helmeted Honeyeater has suffered a steady decline in population and distribution throughout the 20th century. It is currently restricted to one population which inhabits Mountain Swamp Gum swampland and Manna Gum dominated riparian forest along the Cockatoo and Macclesfield Creeks (Menkhorst and Middleton 1991). The majority of the population is now contained within the Yellingbo State Nature Reserve where numbers appear to have stabilised mainly due to an intensive recovery program (B. Quin pers. comm.).
Helmeted Honeyeaters are colonial, sedentary and feed on insects and nectar. Wildfire is known to have caused extinction of local populations and is a major threat due to the restricted distribution of the species (Menkhorst and Middleton 1991, Menkhorst 1992, McCarthy 1996). Other major threats include interspecific aggression from Bell Miners which exclude Helmeted Honeyeaters from areas of suitable habitat (Pearce et al. 1995), and non-forestry clearing and agricultural activities in the surrounding land which may lead to altered hydrological regimes and increased nutrient levels within the swampland, possible causes of eucalypt dieback and habitat deterioration (Menkhorst and Middleton 1991). The species is also susceptible to logging upstream within the catchment which may cause habitat deterioration due to altered hydrological regimes and increased siltation (B. Quin pers. comm.). Due to the small, restricted nature of the population threats such as disease (although there is no evidence of disease at present) and impacts associated with the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect which could further restrict suitable habitat, are considered moderate threats to the species (B. Quin pers. comm.).


Regent Honeyeater

Xanthomyza phrygia

RARITY

a) Geographic Range

  • Classification of range size: Unknown, potentially large due to mobility

  • Range size within region: (ha): Unknown, likely <150 000

  • Proportion of region occupied (%): Unknown, likely <10

  • Source: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, CNR and AHC (1994), N. Schedvin pers. comm.

b) Abundance

  • Classification of abundance: Low

  • Population Estimate: Unknown

  • Density: Unknown, National population estimate 500-1500 birds

  • Home Range (ha): Unknown

  • Source: Menkhorst (in prep)

c) Habitat Specificity

  • Classification of habitat specificity: Wide

  • Vegetation types used in the region: Inhabits eucalypt woodlands and open forest, as well as treed farmland and urban areas. EVCs containing key eucalypt species (Red Ironbark Eucalyptus sideroxylon, White Box E. albens, Yellow Box E. melliodora, Yellow Gum E. leucoxylon and Blakey’s Red Gum E. blakelyi) include Valley Forest, Grassy Dry Forest and Box Woodland

  • Source: CNR and AHC (1994), Franklin et al. (1989)

DYNAMICS

Population Trend in Last Decade

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Declined

  • Source: Webster and Menkhorst (1992), Menkhorst in prep.

Population trend since discovery by Europeans

  • Increasing, stable or declined: Declined

  • Source: Webster and Menkhorst (1992), Menkhorst (in prep)

SPATIAL DYNAMICS

a) Population variability

  • Classification of population variability: High

  • Source: Menkhorst (1993)

b) Dispersal

  • Classification of powers of dispersal: High, nomadic

  • Average distances dispersed: Unknown one bird was recorded travelling 85km

  • Maximum distance dispersed: Unknown, possibly 100s of kms
    Seasonal patterns of abundance and breeding linked to regional patterns of flowering of key eucalypt species.

  • Source: Menkhorst (in prep), N. Schedvin pers. comm.

LIFE HISTORY PARAMETERS

a) Reproductive output

  • Classification of reproductive output: Low

  • Age of sexual maturity (yrs): 1

  • Mean clutch/litter/brood size: 2-3

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

  • Time of year young born/hatch: July-February (mainly November-January)

  • Source: Menkhorst (1993), Menkhorst (in prep), N. Schedvin pers. comm.

b) Longevity

  • Classification of lifespan: Unknown

  • Average lifespan (yrs): Unknown

  • Maximum lifespan (yrs): 7 years

  • Source: N. Schedvin pers. comm.

c) Morphology

Adult body size



  • Weight (g): 43

  • Length (mm): 225

  • Source: Longmore (1991)

d) Social organisation

  • Colonial or non-colonial: Nest in pairs, non- breeding may form loose flocks

  • Territoriality: Yes, nest tree and feeding site defence

  • Source: Webster and Menkhorst (1992), Franklin and Robinson (1989)

e) Other

  • Nomadic, migratory, sedentary: Nomadic/Migratory. Movement poorly understood. May be linked to food availability and could include semi-migratory longer distances between regions and local wanderings.

  • Mode of feeding: Nectivore, insectivore
    Source: Franklin et al. (1989)



THREATS

1. Fire (planned): Ranking (-)



2. Fire (unplanned): Ranking (1) (particularly in breeding areas) N. Schedvin pers. comm.

3. Logging: Ranking (1) N. Schedvin pers. comm.

4. Introduced Species: Ranking (-)

5. Pest Control: Ranking (-)

6. Grazing: Ranking (1) N. Schedvin pers. comm.

7. Disease: Ranking (-)

8. Illegal harvesting: Ranking (0) N. Schedvin pers. comm.

9. Non-forestry Clearing: Ranking (2) N. Schedvin pers. comm.

10. Mining/Quarrying: Ranking (-) N. Schedvin pers. comm.

11. Roading: Ranking (1) N. Schedvin pers. comm.

12 Recreation: Ranking (-)

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

14.Other: Interspecific competition: Ranking (2) Menkhorst (1993), N. Schedvin pers. comm., Firewood collection: Ranking (2) N. Schedvin pers. comm.
Current Management:

The Regent Honeyeater is listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Commonwealth Endangered Species Protection Act 1992. An Action Statement (Menkhorst 1993) and draft Recovery Plan have been prepared for this species (Menkhorst, in prep). Exclusion of timber harvesting, mining and grazing is recommended for regularly used sites. Exclusion areas include a 100m wide disturbance-free zone surrounding the site, and a further 150m wide zone within which at least 10 habitat trees per hectare should be retained. Actions specified within the draft Recovery Plan relate to habitat mangement, population monitoring, ecological research, extension and captive management.


Comments: The Regent Honeyeater is most frequently found in box-ironbark habitat, containing key eucalypt species such as Red Ironbark E. sideroxylon, White Box E. albens, Yellow Box E. melliodora, Yellow Gum E. leucoxylon and Blakey’s Red Gum E. blakelyi. Regularly used sites are areas where the birds appear most years and may also breed. Birds are often recorded in small remnants which have not experienced intensive silviculture (including loss of large trees). Larger trees appear to be selected for nectar feeding (Webster and Menkhorst 1992). It appears to occur more frequently in blocks rather than strips or isolates. The loss of high quality sites and habitat fragmentation creates the potential for competition for nectar with other honeyeater species and from apiarists (Menkhorst 1993).
Over 80% of records for the species occur in 3 localities in northern Victoria (Menhorst, in prep). In the Central Highlands, the majority of records are in the vicinity of Melbourne. Suitable habitat occurs primarily in foothill country to the north and east of Melbourne, and the lower slopes and upper terraces of the Goulburn River. The Plenty Gorge Park contains known breeding habitat, and Lake Eildon National Park has potentially suitable habitat (N. Schedvin pers. comm.). Due to the scarcity of suitable habitat within the Central Highlands there are no major threats to the Regent Honeyeater. Threats relate to further loss and degradation of existing habitat which may be caused by clearing and firewood collection (N. Schedvin pers. comm.). Habitat fragmentation as a result of clearing has lead to greater competition for limited resources from more aggressive species which may exclude Regent Honeyeaters (Menkhorst 1993).


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