Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Vegetation structure and ground cover attributes describe the occurrence of a newly discovered carnivorous marsupial on the Tweed Shield Volcano caldera, the endangered black-tailed dusky antechinus (Antechinus arktos).

Citation

Pearce, Coral et al. (2019), Vegetation structure and ground cover attributes describe the occurrence of a newly discovered carnivorous marsupial on the Tweed Shield Volcano caldera, the endangered black-tailed dusky antechinus (Antechinus arktos)., Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qnk98sfbt

Abstract

The black-tailed dusky antechinus (Antechinus arktos) is a recently discovered, endangered, carnivorous marsupial mammal endemic to the Tweed Shield Volcano caldera, straddling the border between Queensland and New South Wales in eastern Australia. The species’ preference for cool, high altitude habitats makes it particularly vulnerable to a shifting climate as these habitats recede. Aside from basic breeding ecology and dietary patterns the species’ biology is largely unknown. Understanding fine scale habitat attributes preferred by this endangered mammal is critical to employ successful conservation management. Here, we assess vegetation attributes of known habitats over three sites at Springbrook and Border Ranges National Parks, including detailed structure data and broad floristic assessment. Floristic compositional assessment of the high-altitude, cloud rainforest indicated broad similarities. However, only 22% of species were shared between all sites indicating a high level of local endemism. This suggests a diverse assemblage of vegetation across A. arktos habitats. Habitat characteristics were related to capture records of A. arktos to determine potential fine-scale structural habitat requirements. Percentage of rock cover and leaf litter were the strongest predictors of A. arktos captures across survey sites suggesting a need for foraging substrate and cover. Habitat characteristics described here will inform predictive species distribution models of this federally endangered species and are applicable to other mammal conservation programs.