Life history and demographics of an island possum

Isaac, Joanne L. (2005) Life history and demographics of an island possum. Australian Journal of Zoology, 53 (3). pp. 195-203.

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Knowledge of life history and demography is essential for effective management of target species. Here, I describe life history and demographic traits of the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) on Magnetic Island, north Queensland. Data were collected during monthly live-trapping sessions over three years (2001–2004). Density was ~100% higher than reported in most Australian populations, at 5 possums per hectare; losses from the population were more than compensated for by births and immigration. Age-specific survival differed between the sexes: male survival declined earlier and faster than female survival. Males were significantly heavier than females as adults and sexual dimorphism appears to arise through a faster growth rate in males following weaning. Age at maturity in females varied from 1 to 3 years; 61% of females produced their first young at age 2. Males became sexually mature at age 3. Breeding was seasonal, with >50% births occurring in April–May; a smaller birth peak in spring was due to some females producing a second young after they had successfully weaned a first. The Magnetic Island possum population appears to be more similar to New Zealand populations, in terms of their life history and demographics, than to other previously studied mainland Australian populations.

Item ID: 5959
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1446-5698
Keywords: brushtail possum
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2010 04:34
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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