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Frequency of Breeding and Recruitment in the Short-Beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus

Peggy D. Rismiller and Michael W. McKelvey
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 81, No. 1 (Feb., 2000), pp. 1-17
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1383123
Page Count: 17
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Frequency of Breeding and Recruitment in the Short-Beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus
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Abstract

We documented the breeding frequency of 25 wild female short-beaked echidnas, Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus, fate of young, and recruitment of subadults into a population over a 7-year period. Echidnas had 1 annual breeding period with courtship lasting 7-37 days. Females monitored were observed to mate only once per breeding season with 1 male. All females that mated produced a single fertile egg 23 days ± 1 SE after mating. Frequency of reproduction differed among individuals and years. Number of young hatched each season varied between 1 and 9. A total of 22 hatchlings was produced by 17 different females between 1990 and 1996. Seven young died before weaning, 8 were known to survive to weaning, and the fates of the remaining 7 were unknown. Number of new subadults found in the study site was comparable with the number of young known to have been produced each year.

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