Spatial ecology of monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides) in a fragmented landscape of southern Chile

Francisco E. Fontúrbel, Eduardo A. Silva-Rodríguez, Nelson H. Cárdenas, Jaime E. Jiménez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Habitat loss is one of the most important causes of biodiversity loss in South American temperate rainforests, where many endemic species exist. Among these is the monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides), an arboreal marsupial with restricted distribution, and the only extant species of the order Microbiotheria. Current knowledge about monito del monte habitat use and its responses to human disturbances is scarce. To help fill this gap we investigated its habitat use and selection patterns in a fragmented landscape in southern Chile. Monito del monte individuals were abundant in a large and a small fragment, but rare or undetected in forest strips. Using telemetry data from 12 neighboring individuals in a large fragment and 2 individuals in a small fragment, we estimated their mean home range size of 1.6 ha±0.6 (1SD). Monitos del monte had a spatial overlap among individuals of 50±4%. Tracked individuals used old- and second-growth habitats as available, did not use the prairie habitats, and strongly avoided the scrublands. In the large fragment we estimated a relative population density of 21±5 individuals/ha (mean±1SD), whereas in the small fragment it was of 19±6 individuals/ha. This is, to our knowledge, the first study of the spatial ecology of the monito del monte based on telemetry data, and evidence presented here could have conservation and planning implications, not only for the target species but also its habitat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMammalian Biology
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dromiciops gliroides
  • Habitat use
  • Home range
  • Southern Chile
  • Temperate forest

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