Distribution and characteristics of the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) in the Murrumbidgee catchment

Joanne Connolly, Tom Claridge, Sarah Cordell, Sharon Nielsen, Geoffrey Dutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Little is known of the current status of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) populations in the Murrumbidgee catchment and other west-flowing rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin. Platypus distribution in the Murrumbidgee catchment was determined from sightings, reports by government departments, the literature and a capture-release study. The platypus was found to be widespread in the catchment including all subcatchment and elevation categories, but most reports were from the middle and upper sub-catchments. Sixty-five captures of fifty-five individual platypuses were made during 61 trap nights to 31 study sites in the Murrumbidgee catchment from 2009-2010. Only three juveniles (all females) were captured and recapture rates were low, with only nine platypuses captured more than once. Adult males had body weights of 980 to 2180 g and body lengths of 42 to 60 cm (n=32). Adult females weighed 795 to 1480 g and were 38 to 52 cm long (n=20). Tail fat index was significantly effected by season and platypus age, while in comparison, season, platypus length and weight had a significant effect on tail volume index. This study established a baseline that provides a starting point from which the impacts of environmental disturbances or diseases taking place over time can be measured and investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Mammalogy
Volume38
Issue number1
Early online date2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Platypus
catchment
environmental disturbance
tail
subwatersheds
fat
Ornithorhynchus anatinus
distribution
body length
environmental impact
traps
basins
basin
river
rivers
body weight
lipids

Cite this

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abstract = "Little is known of the current status of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) populations in the Murrumbidgee catchment and other west-flowing rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin. Platypus distribution in the Murrumbidgee catchment was determined from sightings, reports by government departments, the literature and a capture-release study. The platypus was found to be widespread in the catchment including all subcatchment and elevation categories, but most reports were from the middle and upper sub-catchments. Sixty-five captures of fifty-five individual platypuses were made during 61 trap nights to 31 study sites in the Murrumbidgee catchment from 2009-2010. Only three juveniles (all females) were captured and recapture rates were low, with only nine platypuses captured more than once. Adult males had body weights of 980 to 2180 g and body lengths of 42 to 60 cm (n=32). Adult females weighed 795 to 1480 g and were 38 to 52 cm long (n=20). Tail fat index was significantly effected by season and platypus age, while in comparison, season, platypus length and weight had a significant effect on tail volume index. This study established a baseline that provides a starting point from which the impacts of environmental disturbances or diseases taking place over time can be measured and investigated.",
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Distribution and characteristics of the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) in the Murrumbidgee catchment. / Connolly, Joanne; Claridge, Tom; Cordell, Sarah; Nielsen, Sharon; Dutton, Geoffrey.

In: Australian Mammalogy, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2016, p. 58-67.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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