Time-budget and feeding behaviour of the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) in remnant linear habitat Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) occurs in forests and woodlands in eastern Australia. In Victoria it is now largely restricted to small, fragmented areas and is considered endangered. In this study, the time-budget, feeding behaviour and related habitat use of the squirrel glider were investigated in a linear remnant of roadside vegetation near Euroa, Victoria. Timed observations of three males and three females, fitted with radio-collars, were made in each of four seasons. Gliders were observed for a total of 53.2 h, during which they devoted 72% of time to foraging activities. Grooming accounted for 16% of observation time. Exudates associated with homopterous insects were the primary food items consumed throughout the year. Arthropods, nectar and pollen, and Acacia gum formed the remainder of the diet. The proportion of time devoted to harvesting these food items showed marked seasonal variation. The primary dependence on homopterous insect exudates in this study area contrasts with other investigations at sites of greater floristic diversity where nectar and pollen were the most important dietary resources. This highlights the need to obtain ecological information from the range of habitats occupied by a species. Large trees are a vital habitat component of remnant linear vegetation in this study area, providing gliders with critical foraging resources. Retention of such trees is essential for the longevity of glider populations.

publication date

  • 2007

has subject area