Capital Ecology recently embarked on a professional development and team building trip to Temora and surrounds. We ventured to Temora to so we could trap small native mammals (notably the Yellow-footed Antechinus Antechinus flavipes) and investigate some ecosystems a little different to those of the ACT and NSW Southern Tablelands, our home turf. We deployed 200 traps over two nights across Mandamah State Forest, Ingalba Nature Reserve, Big Bush Nature Reserve, and a property near Ariah Park, capturing a total of 14 Antechinus.
Interestingly, trapping success was highest in the narrow linear bands along roadsides and bordering agricultural paddocks. These patches are dominated by old remnant Grey-Box Eucalyptus microcarpa with numerous tree hollows. We trapped far fewer Antechinus in the large Mugga Ironbark E. sideroxylon, Black Cypress Callitris endlicheri and Grey-Box dominated nature reserves of Ingalba and Big Bush, and the White Cypress C. columellaris dominated Mandamah State Forest. We trapped no Antechinus among the River Redgum E. camaldulensis fringed Mirrool Creek.
Although these cute little marsupials are currently not of high conservation concern, their presence in narrow woodland remnants highlights the importance of protecting such patches for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem function.
Questions remain on the health and stability of these populations. It is unclear how well individuals disperse between patches, and whether the small size and linear shape of the region’s woodland remnants adversely impacts upon the genetic diversity of local populations.
Capital Ecology’s professional development expeditions help to keep our skills sharp. The team had a great time trapping and handling Antechinus and exploring some of the ecosystems of the northern Riverina.