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This study investigated burrow use and ranging behaviour in the southern hairy-nosed wombat Lasiorhinus latifrons in semi-arid South Australia. Sixteen adult wombats were fitted with radio transmitters and monitored monthly from July 2001 to February 2002. Wombats generally used between one and five warrens, preferred large warrens with a greater number of entrances and showed a preference for one or two warrens. Across the study period there was no apparent change in burrows used within warrens. Radio-tracking indicated that animals spent very little time above ground (26% of 1115 night-time fixes), centred their activity around their preferred warrens, and moved, on average, 99 m/h and 221 m/night. Mean home-range size, estimated using minimum convex polygons and the harmonic mean method from location data, obtained through triangulation, and daytime warren fixes, ranged from 1.3 to 4.8 ha. Home-range size was similar between males and females and home ranges overlapped substantially. The data highlight the importance of burrows to southern hairy-nosed wombats in shaping their home ranges. It seems likely that the use of burrows and a specialized diet are important energy saving strategies for this species in such unpredictable regions of South Australia.
The diet of striped possums Dactylopsila trivirgata inhabiting the tropical forests of far north Queensland, Australia, was investigated by observing foraging behaviour and analysing stomach samples collected opportunistically from dead animals. In contrast to non-dactylopsiline petaurids, which frequently use plant exudates as well as invertebrates, observations on the foraging behaviour of D. trivirgata indicate that it is an opportunistic forager feeding mainly on invertebrates. Animals occasionally fed on plant exudates but these contributed little to the diet. Nine different orders of invertebrates were present in stomach samples, with wood boring coleopteran and lepidopteran larvae, and adult hymenopterans and isopterans being most frequently represented in the diet. This is consistent with the unusual morphological characteristics of D. trivirgata's, such as their elongated fourth finger and powerful jaws, which appear to be adaptations for extracting prey such as wood-boring larvae. Two of the important prey taxa in the diet (alates of Formicidae, and larvae of Cerambycidae) had a very high fat content (44% and 40% of dry weight, respectively) suggesting that the animals may target prey of high nutritional value. Anatomical investigations indicated that, relative to body weight, the digestive tract of D. trivirgata was shorter than that of most other petaurids. These data further support the idea that D. trivirgata is more reliant on invertebrates than other members of the family Petauridae.
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