Short-term movement patterns and diet of small dasyurid marsupials in semiarid Australia
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Since little information is available on the spatial ecology of small arid-zone marsupials, we used radio-tracking to investigate the small-scale activity patterns of three dasyurid species in semiarid Australia. Sminthopsis crassicaudata, Planigale gilesi and S. macroura were equipped with miniature radio-transmitters to monitor choice of resting sites and daily movements. Resting sites were located within an area of 1.27 ᠰ.36 ha, 0.12 ᠰ.02 ha and 3.60 ᠰ.95 ha, respectively and individuals returned to previously used resting sites regularly. We also analysed scat samples of S. crassicaudata and P. gilesi, and identified Araneae, Hymenoptera and Orthoptera as the major prey taxa for both species. Our study presents the first radio-tracking-based information on movements for these species in semiarid habitat, which indicates that, over a period of several weeks, resting sites are situated within small and defined areas.