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Chapter 13 - Sex and seasonality: reproduction in the echidna (Tachylossus aculeatus). Part 1, pp 143-153

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Nicol, SC and Morrow, GE (2012) Chapter 13 - Sex and seasonality: reproduction in the echidna (Tachylossus aculeatus). Part 1, pp 143-153. Living in a Seasonal World: Thermoregulatory and Metabolic Adaptations. pp. 143-153.

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Abstract

We studied seasonality in free-ranging echidnas (Tachgylossus aculeatus) in Tasmania near the most southern part of their range. Both sexes showed a large seasonal variation in body mass associated with hibernation and reproduction. Male echidnas entered hibernation in mid-February (late summer) and females one month later. Not all reproductively mature adults mated every year: in non-reproductive years both sexes hibernated for approximately six months, becoming active in spring when ecosystem productivity was increasing and reliable. In reproductive years, males aroused from hibernation in early winter, and sought out females. Matings began before females had completed hibernation, and females re-entered hibernation between matings and sometimes when pregnant. This timing of mating ensures that maximum growth rate of the young coincides with the period of greatest ecosystem productivity, while female torpor through the mating period minimizes energy expenditure during the time of lowest food availability.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: hibernation, reproduction, seasonality, monotreme, echidna, Tachyglossus
Journal or Publication Title: Living in a Seasonal World: Thermoregulatory and Metabolic Adaptations
Page Range: pp. 143-153
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-28678-0_13
Additional Information: Copyright 2012 Springer
Date Deposited: 22 May 2012 03:34
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:33
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/13580
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