Reproduction in the short-beaked echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus: Field observations at an elevated site in South East Queensland

Beard, Lyn A. and Grigg, Gordon C. (2000) Reproduction in the short-beaked echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus: Field observations at an elevated site in South East Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 122 89-99.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Beard, Lyn A.
Grigg, Gordon C.
Title Reproduction in the short-beaked echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus: Field observations at an elevated site in South East Queensland
Formatted title
Reproduction in the short-beaked echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus: Field observations at an elevated site in South East Queensland
Journal name Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0370-047X
Publication date 2000-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 122
Start page 89
End page 99
Total pages 11
Editor M. L. A. Augee
Place of publication Sydney, NSW, Australia
Publisher Linnean Society of New South Wales
Language eng
Subject C1
270706 Life Histories (incl. Population Ecology)
270599 Zoology not elsewhere classified
780105 Biological sciences
Formatted abstract
As part of a radiotelemetric study of echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) in south-east Queensland focussing on thermal relations, we were able to confirm and extend present knowledge of echidna reproduction. Mating was concentrated in July and August, as elsewhere, but we found that echidnas have the ability to conceive successfully a second time within the one season, apparently in response to losing the first young. Echidnas in this area of south-east Queensland may be able to attempt breeding every year. Our data supports published estimates of gestation in the range of 20 to 23 days. Females spent two to three weeks in a plugged 'incubation' burrow, maintaining a high and stable body temperature for a period encompassing the last few days of gestation, all of incubation and the first few days of the hatchling's life. The single young was carried in the female's pouch for 45-50 days, attaining a body weight of approximately 200g before being stowed in a different plugged 'nursery' burrow. We describe the first detailed timing of a female's visits to suckle her young. She visited regularly, every six days at first, gradually increasing in frequency to about every four days before the visits ceased and, presumably, the newly-independent young emerged at a calculated five and a half months of age.
Keyword Echidna
Monotreme
Radiotelemetry
Reproduction
Tachyglossus aculeatus
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 21:42:30 EST