Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Predators in a mining landscape: Threats to a behaviourally unique, endangered lizard

Bradley, H.S., Craig, M.D., Tomlinson, S., Cross, A.T., Bamford, M.J. and Bateman, P.W. (2022) Predators in a mining landscape: Threats to a behaviourally unique, endangered lizard. Austral Ecology . Early View.

Free to read:
*No subscription required


Patchy resource distribution can cluster predator activity around areas of the highest productivity in ecosystems. For the endangered Western Spiny-tailed Skink (Egernia stokesii badia) in Western Australia, the log piles that they permanently inhabit in an otherwise patchy, arid landscape, represent a potentially reliable, high abundance food source for predators. Not only are encounter rates by potential predators of E. s. badia likely to be influenced by vegetation structure at the microhabitat scale but also E. s. badia occurs in a region where mine sites and associated infrastructure, such as landfill sites, likely concentrate generalist predators (e.g. Feral Cats and corvids). We assessed the influence of the presence of coarse woody debris (CWD) and distance to the landfill on predator behaviour towards E. s. badia through plasticine model experiments, unbounded point count bird surveys and camera trapping. We found that CWD inhabited by E. s. badia attracted a greater relative activity of corvids compared with uninhabited CWD, or control sites without CWD. The relative activity of corvids and predatory birds combined increased with decreasing distance from the landfill. Preferential hunting by corvids at CWD inhabited by E. s. badia compared to both uninhabited CWD and open sites suggests that inhabited CWD may be targeted by generalist predators in the region, and that adaptive management may be required for species conservation around active mining areas.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Ecological Society of Australia.
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year