The Julia Creek dunnart, Sminthopsis douglasi (Marsupialia : Dasyuridae): breeding of a threatened species in captivity and in wild populations Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • A detailed description of the methods used to house, maintain and assess the reproductive condition of captive Julia Creek dunnarts, Sminthopsis douglasi, that led to successful breeding of the species in captivity is provided. Basic features of the reproductive biology of this species of Sminthopsis have been established from observations made on captive animals. The females are polyoestrous, with a cycle length of ~28 days. Young are born 13–16 days after mating and are dependent on the mother for ~70 days. The age at which captive animals commence breeding ranged from 13 to 38 weeks (females) and 23 to 40 weeks (males). Both sexes are capable of breeding when two years old. Breeding in wild populations is seasonal and occurs over a six-month period from August to March, which encompasses the hottest and wettest time of the year. Both females and males are known to be capable of breeding in more than one season and females have the potential to rear two litters in a season. Recruitment of young to the population may be affected by heavy rainfall during the breeding season that can lead to closure of the cracks and holes in which the dunnarts shelter.

publication date

  • 2015

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