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Data from: Greater agility increases probability of survival in the endangered northern quoll

Citation

Rew-Duffy, Miranda et al. (2020), Data from: Greater agility increases probability of survival in the endangered northern quoll, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cvdncjt1x

Abstract

Introduced predators combined with habitat loss and modification are threatening biodiversity worldwide, particularly the ‘critical weight range’ (CWR) mammals of Australia. In order to mitigate the impacts of invasive predators on native species in different landscapes, we must understand how the prey's morphology and performance determine their survival. Here we evaluate how phenotypic traits related to escape performance predict the probability of survival for an endangered CWR mammal, the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus). We measured mass, body size, body shape, body condition, and age, as well as maximum sprint speed, acceleration, and agility of female quolls over two consecutive years. Those with higher body condition and agility around a 135° corner were more likely to survive their first 21 months of life but were not more likely to survive after this period. No other morphological or performance traits affected survival. Heavier second-year individuals were more agile than first-years but second-years experienced higher mortality rates throughout the year. Females with higher body condition and agility around a 135° corner tended to have shorter limbs and feet but larger heads. Our findings suggest that higher body condition and agility are advantageous for survival in female northern quolls. These results can be used to develop predictive models of predator-prey interactions based on performance capacities and how performance is affected by habitat, aiding conservation efforts to predict and manage the impacts of introduced predators on native species.

Funding

Australian Research Council, Award: FT150100492