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Spurs, sexual dimorphism and reproductive maturity in Tasmanian echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus)

Nicol, SC, Andersen, NA, Morrow, GE and Harris, RL 2019 , 'Spurs, sexual dimorphism and reproductive maturity in Tasmanian echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus)' , Australian Mammalogy, vol. 41, no. 2 , pp. 161-169 , doi: 10.1071/AM18005.

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Abstract

We present data from an 18-year study of a wild population of Tasmanian echidnas, which show that the presence of spurs in an adult are a reliable indicator of sex, and that there is a slight but significant sexual dimorphism in size, with a male to female mass ratio of 1.1. Minimum age at first breeding in the wild for Tasmanian echidnas was 5 years, as has been found on Kangaroo Island, compared with 3 years in captive echidnas. It is often assumed that although the echidna is distributed throughout Australia, New Guinea and off-shore islands that all aspects of its basic biology are the same in all populations, but comparisons of our results with data from other populations suggest that there may be differences in size and sexual dimorphism.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Nicol, SC and Andersen, NA and Morrow, GE and Harris, RL
Keywords: crural gland, monotreme, platypus, reproduction
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Mammalogy
Publisher: C S I R O Publishing
ISSN: 0310-0049
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/AM18005
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Australian Mammal Society

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