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Status and ecology of the heath mouse Pseudomys shortridgei in Western Australia

Cancilla, D. and Johnson, B. (2005) Status and ecology of the heath mouse Pseudomys shortridgei in Western Australia. In: 51st Scientific Meeting of the Australian Mammal Society, 4 - 8 July, Albany, Western Australia.


Although there are secure populations of heath mice (Pseudomys shortridgei) in western Victoria, this large native mouse was presumed extinct in Western Australia until its rediscovery in 1987. Consequently, it is the only threatened native rodent species in WA without a management plan. Several studies have been completed looking at the ecology and biology of this rodent in Victoria. However, a lack of research has lead to a paucity of information on this species in WA. The current study will determine the status and ecology of the heath mouse in WA and address possible differences in aspects of the ecology and biology of this species which are thought to exist between the eastern and western populations. Extensive trapping (> 16,000 t/n) using medium Elliott traps has only located two populations from seven sites with suitable habitats. Population densities of 1.96 individuals per hectare, a predominately herbivorous diet, and a preferred habitat of mixed lateritic heath have been identified at Lake Magenta nature reserve (350 km southeast of Perth) which will help determine the current status of the heath mouse and to develop a management plan that will provide conservation departments and industry with tools to help protect another of Australia's threatened species.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
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