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Seasonal changes in the diet of the long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta) assessed by analysis of faecal scats and of stable isotopes in blood

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2005, 00:00 authored by M Thums, Marcel KlaassenMarcel Klaassen, I Hume
The diet of long-nosed bandicoots (Perameles nasuta) on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia, was examined over two summers and two winters using a combination of faecal scat analysis for food fragments and stable isotope analysis (ratios of 13C/12C and 15N/14N) of blood. Isotope ratios in blood overlapped most strongly with those in invertebrate prey, and varied much less between seasons than did those in most dietary items, suggesting that the assimilated diet of long-nosed bandicoots is dominated by invertebrates throughout the year. Invertebrate remains dominated collected faeces in both seasons, even though the availability of invertebrate prey was higher in summer. Thus both techniques indicated that long-nosed bandicoots were primarily insectivorous year-round. Faecal scat analysis indicated that invertebrate eggs were more abundant in summer than winter. At a finer scale, spiders, orthopterans, lepidopteran larvae, ants, leaf material (non-grass monocot) and seeds were more abundant in summer, while cicada larvae, roots, fungi, grass leaves and Acacia bract (small modified leaves appearing as scales) were more abundant in winter. Subterranean foods (cicada larvae, plant roots and hypogeous fungi) were more abundant in winter and more abundant in the diet of males than of either lactating or non-lactating females.

History

Journal

Australian journal of zoology

Volume

53

Issue

2

Pagination

87 - 93

Publisher

CSIRO Publishing

Location

Collingwood, Vic.

ISSN

0004-959X

eISSN

1446-5698

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, CSIRO