Reproduction by echidnas in a cold climate

Beard, L. A., Grigg, Gordon C. and Augee, M. L. (1992). Reproduction by echidnas in a cold climate. In: Augee, M. L., Platypus and Echidnas, University of New South Wales, Sydney, (93-100). July 1991.

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Author Beard, L. A.
Grigg, Gordon C.
Augee, M. L.
Title of paper Reproduction by echidnas in a cold climate
Conference name Platypus and Echidnas
Conference location University of New South Wales, Sydney
Conference dates July 1991
Publication Year 1992
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Editor Augee, M. L.
Start page 93
End page 100
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Echidnas are known to breed in July-August, so the discovery in 1987 that echidnas in Kosciusko National Park spend the winter in hibernation raised questions about when (and if) breeding occurs in this region. Continued radiotelemetry observations during 1988 and 1989 showed, however, that breeding occurred throughout the study area, even above the winter snowline at 1750m. Larger, sexually mature animals aroused from hibernation in time to breed in the normal July-August breeding season. Smaller, presumably younger individuals, however, hibernated much longer, well into the spring. Reproductive behaviour showed differences from previously published observations. We saw no 'trains' prior to mating - pairs formed and mated almost immediately after arousal from hibernation. Also, mating occurred within the shelter of a retreat rather than above ground. Further, we saw no sign of mothers carrying their young in the pouch, early rearing occurring instead in a purpose-built nursing burrow. Females were occupied with reproduction-related activities throughout their active season, mating on exit from hibernation and weaning the young just prior to re-entry. Whether they can accommodate these energetic costs annually, or whether breeding may be biannual or even less frequent remains unknown.
Keyword Echidna
Mating cycle
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Created: Tue, 08 Mar 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Gordon Grigg on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service