Mating system and local dispersal patterns of an endangered potoroid, the northern bettong (Bettongia tropica)

Pope, L.C., Vernes, K., Goldizen, A.W., and Johnson, C.N. (2012) Mating system and local dispersal patterns of an endangered potoroid, the northern bettong (Bettongia tropica). Australian Journal of Zoology, 60 (4). pp. 278-287.

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The northern bettong (Bettongia tropica) (Potoroidae), is an endangered macropod with a restricted distribution. We combined radio-tracking and trapping data with microsatellite genotypes to infer the mating system and local dispersal patterns of this species, and discuss their relevance to translocations. We defined the mating system as 'overlap promiscuity' (sensu Wittenberger 1979), though we cannot rule out serial monogamy. We found significant effects of proximity (average distance between parents = 190 m) and male weight, but not size, on the likelihood of paternity, suggesting that closer, heavier males have greater mating success. The average distance between putative pairs of relatives suggested that most dispersal occurred over short distances, with the distance between 'related' females significantly lower than that between related males (0.9 km versus 1.3 km). A spatial autocorrelation analysis showed high female relatedness across distances of up to 435 m, equivalent to half an average home range width. Conversely, male pairs had low relatedness across 0 to 870 m. These results suggested that female young often settle next to their mother, while males avoid nesting within their father's home range. Both limited natal and 'mating' dispersal may have contributed to the strong genetic structure previously reported for this species.

Item ID: 25083
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1446-5698
Keywords: homomorphic, marsupial, overlap promiscuity, paternity, sex-biased dispersal
Funders: Australian Department of Environment and Heritage, CRC for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2013 09:21
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 50%
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