Tree hollows are a major feature within Australian habitats and an important functional resource for many species in terms of shelter, reproduction, and thermoregulation. Water-filled tree hollows, or phytotelmata, also function as a valuable resource, but their use is only scarcely documented. We used camera trapping to determine which vertebrate species were utilising a known water-holding hollow in dry woodland habitat, and assessed whether antagonistic behaviour, such as hoarding of the resource, was occurring. Camera footage was obtained over a period of three days and nights, and species’ use of the hollow analysed. A total of seven vertebrates (one frog, two reptile and four mammal species) were recorded using the hollow, which included diurnal and nocturnal species. Use by the Feathertail Glider was the most frequent compared to other species. The study highlights an ecological significance of water-filled hollows that should be considered in the management of dry woodland habitats, where the availability of these resources may be depleted by land clearing and loss of existing hollow-bearing trees.
Multiple species use of a water-filled tree hollow by vertebrates in dry woodland habitat of northern New South Wales
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Dana Vickers, John Hunter, Wendy Hawes; Multiple species use of a water-filled tree hollow by vertebrates in dry woodland habitat of northern New South Wales. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2014; 37 (2): 134–138. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2014.036
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