The diet of the musky rat-kangaroo Hypsiprymnodon moschatus, a rainforest specialist

Dennis, Andrew (2002) The diet of the musky rat-kangaroo Hypsiprymnodon moschatus, a rainforest specialist. Wildlife Research, 29 (2). pp. 209-219.

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Musky rat-kangaroos inhabit tropical rain forest and are Australia's smallest and most primitive member of the Macropodoidea. Their ecology and behaviour has remained unknown in the wild until this study, and is expected to be representative of an early unspecialised macropodoid lifestyle. I examined the diet of musky rat-kangaroos using a range of methods including microscopic examination of faecal pellets, direct observation, spool-and-line tracking and examinion of teeth marks left in fruit on the forest floor. Musky rat-kangaroos are frugivores and consumed the fruits of 40 species of plant on a 9-ha rainforest site in Wooroonooran National Park, Queensland. They ate primarily the flesh of fruits, but 11% of seeds from approximately half the species of fruit consumed were also eaten. While musky rat-kangaroos ate fruit from all size classes, they preferred large, fleshy drupes and seeds with a moderate to soft seed coat but without latex present. Invertebrates and the epigeal fruiting bodies of some agaric fungi were the other significant dietary components and these showed seasonal patterns of significance in the diet and differential use by adults and subadults. Musky rat-kangaroos eat the lowest-fibre diet of all animals in the superfamily Macropodoidea and their size and digestive tract reflect this unspecialised, and probably ancestral, diet.

Item ID: 13702
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5494
Keywords: ecology; macropodoidea; musky rat-kangaroo
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Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 06:41
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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