Identifying reproductive state of the Julia Creek dunnart Sminthopsis douglasi by behavioural observations

Paper


Bjursell, A., Withers, K., Senior, G., Lundie-Jenkins, G. and Kennerley, P.. 2005. "Identifying reproductive state of the Julia Creek dunnart Sminthopsis douglasi by behavioural observations." Cree, Alison (ed.) 22nd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ANZSCPB 2005). Dunedin, New Zealand 09 - 11 Dec 2005 New Zealand.
Paper/Presentation Title

Identifying reproductive state of the Julia Creek dunnart Sminthopsis douglasi by behavioural observations

Presentation TypePaper
AuthorsBjursell, A. (Author), Withers, K. (Author), Senior, G. (Author), Lundie-Jenkins, G. (Author) and Kennerley, P. (Author)
EditorsCree, Alison
Journal or Proceedings TitleANZSCPB Proceedings, v. 22
Journal Citation22, p. 56
Number of Pages1
Year2005
Place of PublicationNew Zealand
ISBN0473107198
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://anzscpb.curtin.edu.au/
Conference/Event22nd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ANZSCPB 2005)
Event Details
22nd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ANZSCPB 2005)
Event Date
09 to end of 11 Dec 2005
Event Location
Dunedin, New Zealand
Abstract

The Julia Creek dunnart (Sminthopsis douglasi) is an endangered carnivorous marsupial. A recovery plan for the
species initiated by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service includes captive breeding. An important factor in
breeding S. douglasi is identification of oestrous. The current method of identifying oestrous consists of
examination of urine for the presence of cornified cells. To collect urine, the animals have to be removed from
their cages and restrained. This method may be stressful for the animals, as well as time consuming. The aim of this
study is to identify specific behaviour of S. douglasi associated with oestrous that can be readily observed without the need for handling the animal. This would provide a non-invasive way of identifying oestrous, which would facilitate breeding the species in captivity and designing conservation programs. Behaviour of S. douglasi was observed throughout their active period by video recording. The most striking result was the increase in activity of the female when she was in oestrous compared to non-oestrous. The most informative behaviour to observe was
entry of the female into the nest box and the frequency with which she enters the area closest to the wall (zone 3).
A Discriminant Function Analysis generated an equation which had an Over-all Predictive Power (OPP, the
probability of making an accurate identification of reproductive state) of 89%. This result was gained by watching two random five-minute epochs of activity. The equation was tested and verified with new individuals and attained a similar level of OPP.

KeywordsJulia Creek dunnart; reproduction; reproductive state
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300305. Animal reproduction and breeding
410407. Wildlife and habitat management
Public Notes

Abstract 76. Conference publication consists of only the abstracts of papers presented at the conference.

Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Biological and Physical Sciences
Department of Psychology
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland
David Fleay Wildlife Park, Australia
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