Food availability for the dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis) on Boullanger and Whitlock Islands, Western Australia
Computing, Health and Science
The aim of this study was to assess food availability for the dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis) on Boullanger and Whitlock Islands in different habitats and seasons. This was assessed by capturing ground-dwelling invertebrates in pitfall traps in winter, spring and autumn. A quantitative faecal-pellet analysis was conducted to determine the composition of the diet. There were no significant differences in the number of invertebrates captured in the different seasons, or in the different habitat types on the islands. The proportion of plant versus animal matter in the faecal pellets did not change significantly between the seasons. The diet consisted of ~20% plant material. The scat analysis showed that dibblers consumed at least 10 orders of invertebrates ranging in length from 0.1 mm to 25 mm with an average size of 4.5 ± 0.4 mm. The dibblers did not select for a particular size or taxon of prey, but fed on any invertebrates that were readily available to them. This suggests that dibblers are essentially insectivorous dietary generalists and opportunists. The information gathered in this study could be applied when considering available food resources at future translocation sites for dibblers.