Burrow use by juvenile platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) in their natal home range

Jessica L. Thomas, Marissa L. Parrott, Kathrine A. Handasyde, Peter Temple-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We determined patterns of burrow use by juvenile platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) in their natal home range, and evaluated associations between burrows and vegetation. Between March 2015 and March 2017, we captured seven juvenile platypuses along a 3-km stretch of Badger Creek, Victoria and fitted them with radiotransmitters. We recorded the locations of animals in their burrows daily while transmitters were attached (range: 14-132 days). Juveniles used 74 different burrows, with each using 11 ± 2 burrows. Overall, 65% of burrows (48) were used once, 22% (16) were used between 2 and 9 times (moderate-use), and 13% (10) were used frequently (> 10 times). No juveniles dispersed during the monitoring period (14-132 days). Although some association was observed between burrow use and particular vegetation communities, vegetation was not a strong factor driving site selection of burrows. Use of multiple burrows may allow juveniles to avoid competition with conspecifics, reduce exposure to ectoparasites, and develop shelter-seeking behavior. Juvenile platypuses remained in their natal home range, where conditions are likely to be good because they supported recent breeding, while completing their growth and development prior to dispersal.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergyz078
Pages (from-to)1182-1190
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume100
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • behavior
  • dispersal
  • habitat
  • monotreme
  • vegetation

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