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Type: Journal article
Title: Activity and behaviour of lactating echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus) from hatching of egg to weaning of young
Author: Rismiller, P.
McKelvey, M.
Citation: Australian Journal of Zoology, 2009; 57(3-4):265-273
Publisher: C S I R O Publishing
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0004-959X
Statement of
Peggy D. Rismiller and Michael W. McKelvey
Abstract: Throughout their Australia-wide distribution, short-beaked echidnas breed during the winter months, i.e. June through early September. Actual duration of the female reproductive cycle, from attracting males and mating until weaning the young, can vary from 7 to 9 months depending on geographic location. Much of this variation is due to length of courtship and age of weaning the young. This paper presents data about the behaviour of free-ranging female echidnas on Kangaroo Island from egg laying through to weaning and compares it with findings from other areas. On Kangaroo Island, behaviour of lactating echidnas falls into two distinct phases: (1) while carrying the young in the pouch; and (2) after the young is placed in a nursery burrow. Females significantly increased both the number of hours active each day as well as the size of area utilised after the young was in the nursery. Although types of nursery burrows are similar throughout Australia, duration of use and frequency visited varies between geographic locations. A major difference is that Kangaroo Island echidnas are often active while carrying either the egg or the young in the pouch and echidnas in other regions remain in a burrow for extended periods.
RMID: 0020093059
DOI: 10.1071/ZO09031
Appears in Collections:Anatomical Sciences publications

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