ABSTRACT

Arid and desert landscapes are characterised as boom-bust systems, and sometimes its fauna can remain cryptic or hidden. This short paper reports the results of baseline monitoring of the terrestrial fauna in the Bush Heritage Pullen Pullen reserve in south-west Queensland, most notable for the presence of the night parrot Pezoporus occidentalis. We conducted two fauna surveys over 22 sites representing Spinifex grasslands, and Mitchell and Chenopod grassland habitats in 2018 and 2019, using pitfall, funnel and Elliott traps, and active searching. A total of eight mammal and 28 reptile species comprising 730 records were documented, as well as eight additional incidental species. Frequently recorded species were Ctentous lateralis, Ctenotus pantherinus, Gehyra versicolor, Tachyglossus aculeatus, Sminthopsis macroura, Pseudomys desertor. Fourteen of the species recorded were highly variable in abundance from one survey to the next. The fauna of the Spinifex grasslands, and Mitchell and Chenopod grassland sites was compositionally very different, and the extent of ground cover or Triodia in the surrounding landscape predicted the abundance of some mammals (i.e. Pseudomys desertor) and reptiles (Delma nasuta, Ctenotus pulchellus, Cyclodomorphus melanops). These data provide a baseline for future monitoring on this important reserve, and an opportunity to enhance or increase the survey scope via additional sites and a future more adaptive management and question-driven approach.

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