The swamp antechinus (Antechinus minimus maritimus) is a small insectivorous marsupial inhabiting closed heath and tussock grassland in south-eastern Australia. The species is considered 'Near Threatened' on the Australian mainland. Populations persist on coastal islands off Wilsons Promontory, but their current status is unknown. This study investigated the density, diet and reproduction of the swamp antechinus on Kanowna Island. Data were collected by live trapping in different vegetation types during four trips between August 2003 and January 2004. Higher animal densities (47-129 ha-1) were found for Kanowna Island than for previously studied mainland populations (1-18 ha-1). Examination ofscats showed that this species eats a wide variety ofprey types, with moth larvae a major dietary component, particularly during the breeding season. Births were estimated to have occurred between 28 June and 8 August, which is a longer period than reported for other populations of this species. Factors including reduced predation, restricted dispersal and increased food availability may be responsible for supporting this dense population.
Field of Research
060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences