Comparison of life-history characteristics of island and mainland populations of the swamp antechinus

Sale, M. G., Wilson, B. A. and Arnould, J. P. Y 2009, Comparison of life-history characteristics of island and mainland populations of the swamp antechinus, Journal of zoology, vol. 277, no. 2, pp. 119-125.

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Title Comparison of life-history characteristics of island and mainland populations of the swamp antechinus
Author(s) Sale, M. G.
Wilson, B. A.
Arnould, J. P. Y
Journal name Journal of zoology
Volume number 277
Issue number 2
Start page 119
End page 125
Total pages 7
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2009-02
ISSN 0952-8369
1469-7998
Keyword(s) swamp antechinus
dasyurid
reproduction
life history
litter size
island syndrome
semelparity
Summary The reproductive ecology of the swamp antechinus Antechinus minimus, a small dasyurid (Dasyuridae) marsupial with obligate male semelparity, was investigated in populations inhabiting the mainland coast and on a nearby offshore island in south-eastern Australia. The size and sex ratios of litters, individual body mass and size, timing of births and female longevity were determined from live-trapped animals. The island population had significantly smaller litter sizes and greater adult body mass in comparison with the mainland population. This is consistent with features of the ‘island syndrome’, which predicts directional selection for these traits in high-density populations with reduced extrinsic mortality. However, inter-annual variability in litter sizes in the island population suggests that litter size is more responsive to fluctuating local conditions, such as population density, which is likely to affect food availability, rather than directional genetic changes. In contrast with other antechinus species, biased sex ratios were not evident. In addition, large variations of the timing of births were estimated at both sites and these appear to be related to seasonal conditions such as autumn rainfall and female body mass before mating.
Language eng
Field of Research 060308 Life Histories
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2008, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30028560

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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