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Habitat selection of the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta (Mammalia, Peramelidae), in a patchy urban environment


* Corresponding author.


Habitat selection in an omnivorous marsupial, the long-nosed bandicoot, Perameles nasuta Geoffroy, was investigated in an urban environment with both natural and highly modified habitats at North Head, New South Wales, Australia. Habitat use at both macro- and microhabitat scales was determined using live-trapping, and P. nasuta was shown to be a habitat specialist at this site. At night, animals used open grass macrohabitats disproportionately more for foraging than other macrohabitats. Trap-revealed macrohabitat use was supported by radiotracking three males. Lack of understorey and absence of leaf litter were the major microhabitat features affecting habitat choice, although soil type probably also had some effect. Open areas may provide a more abundant and/or accessible food supply for P. nasuta, although better manoeuvrability or increased visibility to detect predators may also be important. Diurnal nest sites, located using radiotracking, were primarily in dense scrub vegetation, often comprising introduced species of plants. The dependence of P. nasuta on: (i) dense undergrowth for diurnal nesting and temporary nocturnal sheltering; and (ii) open areas for foraging indicates the importance of conserving a mosaic of open and dense vegetation to ensure the continued persistence of this endangered population at North Head.