Feeding behaviour of the squirrel glider in remnant habitat in Brisbane

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Dobson, MDJ, Goldingay, RL & Sharpe, D 2005, 'Feeding behaviour of the squirrel glider in remnant habitat in Brisbane', Australian Mammalogy, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 27-35.

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The diet of the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) was studied in a 45 ha forest remnant within an urban area close to Brisbane in south-east Queensland. Qualitative observations of feeding behaviour were conducted during each of 10 months between May 2002 and April 2003, on over 27 P. norfolcensis from at least 10 social groups. Four different feeding behaviours were recorded from 750 observations. Feeding from flowers accounted for 48% of the diet. Nectar and pollen were derived from 10 overstorey tree species, though forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) dominated because of its high abundance and protracted flowering period. Honeydew and lerp feeding accounted for 15% and 2% of all observations, respectively. Searching for arthropods accounted for 35% overall and occurred in 20 different tree species, where a range of substrates was used. Brushbox (Lophostemon confertus) was the most important; it was used in all seasons and accounted for 49% of these observations. These results contrast with assessment of the diet of P. norfolcensis at other sites where a greater range of broad food types was used. This may reflect the disturbed quality of the habitat at our site. However, these observations confirm the importance of eucalypt nectar in the diet of this species.