Demographic indications of decline in the spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) on the Atherton Tablelands of northern Queensland

Fox, Samantha, Luly, Jon, Mitchell, Catlin, Maclean, Jenny, and Westcott, David A. (2008) Demographic indications of decline in the spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) on the Atherton Tablelands of northern Queensland. Wildlife Research, 35 (5). pp. 417-424.

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Abstract

A lack of information about the spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) makes management and conservation of this vulnerable species difficult. The analysis of population dynamics using life-history traits and life tables is widely used in planning for the conservation and management of wildlife. In the present study, the first life table for any species of bat is provided and age estimates derived from counts of annual increments in tooth cementum rings are used to assess population trends and life-history traits in the spectacled flying fox on the Atherton Tablelands in north Queensland. As a result of high mortality, longevity was much shorter than expected from a theoretical basis. Life-table analyses suggest that the population experienced a 16% decrease during the 2 years of study. Absence of extended longevity to compensate for low reproductive output and delayed sexual maturity in ‘slow end’ mammal species such as P. conspicillatus reduces the window of opportunity for females to reproduce and adapt to changes in mortality rates. This study suggests that spectacled flying fox populations are sensitive to increased mortality and that reducing mortality rates should be the primary goal in conservation planning for P. conspicillatus.

Item ID: 9031
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: tropical biology; mammals; Australia; taxonomy; distribution; ecology
ISSN: 1448-5494
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2010 23:29
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060809 Vertebrate Biology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 6
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