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Title: Diet and feeding selectivity of common wombats
Contributor(s): Evans, Murray (author); Macgregor, Catherine (author); Jarman, Peter (author)
Publication Date: 2006
DOI: 10.1071/WR05047
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Abstract: The seasonal diets and feeding selectivity of common wombats ('Vombatus ursinus') in mountainous eucalypt forest, eucalypt woodland and pasture were determined using faecal analysis. Grass species contributed the largest proportion (95%) of epidermal fragment area in faecal pellets, with at least 20 species being eaten. The most abundant grasses in pellets in all seasons were the tough, wiry snow grasses ('Poa sieberiana' and 'P. labillardieri'), with 'Microlaena stipoides' comprising a substantial proportion of the diet in summer and autumn. Grass leaf was the most abundant plant part in pellets (81%), with grass stem and grass sheath comprising 11%. The seasonal proportion of grass seedhead in pellets varied from just traces during autumn and winter to a substantial component of the diet during summer (21% of epidermal fragments in pellets). Forbs comprised less than 1% of pellet material, and tree or shrub species were not detected in the diet. Feeding selectivity (and hence dietary niche breadth) varied seasonally; wombats became less selective in their feeding as plant diversity and abundance decreased. Positive selection was shown for monocots and negative selection for forbs. Grass species were eaten in broadly similar proportions to their abundances in the field, but with moderate to strong selection or rejection of a few species.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Wildlife Research, 33(4), p. 321-330
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 1035-3712
Field of Research (FOR): 070401 Aquaculture
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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