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Studies on the Marsupial Glider, Schoinobates volans (Kerr): II. Population Structure and Regulatory Mechanisms

C. H. Tyndale-Biscoe and R. F. C. Smith
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 38, No. 3 (Oct., 1969), pp. 637-650
DOI: 10.2307/3040
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3040
Page Count: 14
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Studies on the Marsupial Glider, Schoinobates volans (Kerr): II. Population Structure and Regulatory Mechanisms
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Abstract

(1) The greater glider, Schoinobates volans, is an arboreal marsupial which inhabits the wet sclerophyll forests of eastern Australia. (2) During the 6 years of this study the density remained at about one glider to 3 ac (1.2 ha) of forest, and the animals were distributed in the forest at random in 1 year or more uniformly than random in 2 years; they were absent from cleared land or second growth lacking tall trees. (3) All animals were examined as the forest was clear-felled each summer and provided annual samples of the population, and shot samples were collected at other times of the year. In all groups of more than 300 g body weight the sex ratio was less than 50% male and approximated to 39% male, whereas the group of less than 300 g did not depart significantly from 50%. It is postulated that the shift in sex ratio at this age is due to male specific mortality acting at the time the young leave the mothers' pouch. (4) Animals attain sexual maturity in the second year of life but among the females only about 68% breed in any one year, the number breeding approximating to the total number of adult males. Among those that breed about 15% lose their young before weaning and such losses are not made good by subsequent breeding. (5) Estimates of the potential rate of increase and longevity based on these data are presented and a hypothesis is proposed to account for the observed structure of the population.

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