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Comparative diets of the chuditch, a threatened marsupial carnivore, in the northern and southern jarrah forests, Western Australia

Authors

  • A. S. Glen,

    1. Department of Environment & Conservation, Dwellingup Research Centre, Dwellingup, WA, Australia
    2. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia
    3. Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand
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  • A. Wayne,

    1. Department of Environment & Conservation, Manjimup Research Centre, Manjimup, WA, Australia
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  • M. Maxwell,

    1. Department of Environment & Conservation, Manjimup Research Centre, Manjimup, WA, Australia
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  • J. Cruz

    1. Department of Environment & Conservation, Dwellingup Research Centre, Dwellingup, WA, Australia
    2. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia
    3. School of Animal Studies, University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld, Australia
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  • Editor: Andrew Kitchener

Correspondence
Al S. Glen, Landcare Research PO Box 40, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand. Tel: +643 321 9600; Fax: +643 321 9998
Email: glena@landcareresearch.co.nz

Abstract

The chuditch Dasyurus geoffroii was the largest carnivorous marsupial across most of its former range, from which it has largely disappeared. Published dietary information is unavailable from much of the species' current range, thus limiting our ability to manage the species or to assess its potential impacts on prey populations. Using analysis of scats, we describe and compare the diets of chuditch in the northern (NJF) and southern (SJF) jarrah forests, Western Australia. Mammals and invertebrates dominated the diet in both areas. However, reptiles and birds were also consumed frequently, confirming the chuditch as a generalist predator. A high proportion of large mammals in the diet suggests that it may also be a frequent scavenger. Although diet was broadly similar in both study areas, some differences were apparent. For example, chuditch in the SJF consumed more brushtail possums Trichosurus vulpecula hypoleucus and southern brown bandicoots Isoodon obesulus fusciventer. Seasonal variation in the diet was also apparent, with reptiles and invertebrates being consumed more frequently in the warmer months. A more detailed understanding of chuditch diet in different areas will be essential to assess likely interactions with introduced predators as well as with native prey.

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