The distribution and density of water mice (Xeromys myoides) in the Maroochy River of Southeast Queensland, Australia

Kaluza, Janina and Donald, R. Lesley and Gynther, Ian C. and Leung, Luke K-P. and Allen, Benjamin L. (2016) The distribution and density of water mice (Xeromys myoides) in the Maroochy River of Southeast Queensland, Australia. PLoS One, 11 (1). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1932-6203

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The water mouse is a small and vulnerable rodent present in coastal areas of south-west Papua New Guinea, and eastern Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia. Current knowledge regarding the distribution of the water mouse is incomplete and the loss of one local population has been documented in southeast Queensland, a region where pressures from urban and industrial development are increasing. Water mouse populations have not been studied intensively enough to enable the primary factors responsible for the local decline to be identified. We surveyed the distribution and density of the water mouse along the Maroochy River of southeast Queensland, near the southern extent of the species’ range, to gather baseline data that may prove valuable for detecting any future decline in this population’s size or health. All areas of suitable habitat were surveyed on foot or by kayak or boat over a three-year period. We found 180 water mouse nests, of which ~94% were active. Permanent camera monitoring of one nest and limited supplementary live trapping suggested that up to three individual mice occupied active nests. Water mouse density was estimated to be 0.44 per hectare of suitable habitat along the Maroochy River. Should future monitoring reveal an adverse change in the water mouse population on the Maroochy River, a concerted effort should be made to identify contributing factors and address proximate reasons for the decline.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Open access journal. Published version made available in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 04:09
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 03:17
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146133

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