A Quantitative Dietary Study of the 'Critically Endangered' Gilbert's Potoroo Potorous Gilbertii
Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences
Faecal analysis from the only known population of Gilbert’s potoroo (Potorous gilbertii) near Albany, Western Australia revealed that it, like other rat-kangaroo species is primarily mycophagous. Diet was determined by faecal collections from live-captured animals within Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. Microscopic examination of samples collected from June - September 2000 and additional samples from storage, found fungi to comprise over 90% of faecal matter. A total of 44 fungal spore types were identified with many believed to be of hypogeous origin. Fungal spores belonging to the genera Mesophellia, Elaphomyces, Hysterangium and an unknown spore type (Unknown 1) were frequently recorded in samples. Non-fungal material including plants (stems, roots and seeds) and invertebrates represented the remainder. This investigation found that P. gilbertii fed almost exclusively on fungi and could be considered a specialised mycophagist.