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Fungi consumed by translocated Gilberts potoroos (Potorous gilbertii) at two sites with contrasting vegetation, south coastal Western Australia

Authors:
  • Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

Abstract and Figures

Gilbert's potoroo (Potorous gilbertii) was previously widespread in south-west Australia but is now restricted to one location a granitic area of shrubby heath at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve on the south coast of Western Australia. To alleviate the threat of extinction a program is under way to establish potoroos in other locations. At Two Peoples Bay Gilbert's potoroos feed almost exclusively on truffle fungi. However, it was not known whether potoroos translocated to any new areas would be able to rapidly access and consume fungi after translocation, or whether truffles could be a sustainable food supporting breeding populations of potoroos in translocation sites. Furthermore, it was not known whether translocation of potoroos would be successful only in areas with vegetation similar to their refuge at Two Peoples Bay. The current study addressed these questions by analysing the diet of potoroos translocated into two contrasting areas one on Bald Island with similar topography and vegetation to that of Two Peoples Bay, and the other a 14-ha enclosure on the mainland dominated by EucalyptusAllocasuarina woodland. The diet of potoroos was characterised by microscopic examination of scats from individuals trapped after their translocation to these areas. At Bald Island a diverse range of fungi was consumed immediately after translocation. Four potoroos released onto the island only 48 days previously consumed 23 species of fungi. Consumption was sustained over time. Three potoroos released onto Bald Island 12 years previously and one island-born individual consumed 27 species of fungi during a two-day sampling period. Nine of the 27 fungi species were the same as those that had been consumed by the potoroos within days after their release onto the island. This indicates that production of fungi and their consumption by potoroos on the island was sustained at least 12 years after translocation. Potoroos bred on Bald Island during this period. During the same period, two potoroos that were moved from captivity to the mainland site (Ryedene) were consuming six species of truffles within 29 days after release, and 14 species within three months. Such data indicate that a wider selection of vegetation types and areas than just those similar to where potoroos occur at Two Peoples Bay may be able to sustain potoroos and should be investigated for future translocations.
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Fungi consumed by translocated Gilberts potoroos
(Potorous gilbertii) at two sites with contrasting vegetation,
south coastal Western Australia
N. L. Bougher
A
and J. A. Friend
B
A
Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre,
Bentley, WA 6983, Australia. Email: neale.bougher@dec.wa.gov.au
B
Department of Environment and Conservation, 120 Albany Highway, Albany, WA 6330,
Australia. Email: tony.friend@dec.wa.gov.au
Abstract. Gilberts potoroo (Potorous gilbertii) was previously widespread in south-west Australia but is now
restricted to one location a granitic area of shrubby heath at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve on the south coast of
Western Australia. To alleviate the threat of extinction a program is under way to establish potoroos in other locations.
At Two Peoples Bay Gilberts potoroos feed almost exclusively on trufe fungi. However, it was not known whether
potoroos translocated to any new areas would be able to rapidly access and consume fungi after translocation, or whether
trufes could be a sustainable food supporting breeding populations of potoroos in translocation sites. Furthermore, it
was not known whether translocation of potoroos would be successful only in areas with vegetation similar to their
refuge at Two Peoples Bay. The current study addressed these questions by analysing the diet of potoroos translocated
into two contrasting areas one on Bald Island with similar topography and vegetation to that of Two Peoples Bay, and
the other a 14-ha enclosure on the mainland dominated by EucalyptusAllocasuarina woodland. The diet of potoroos
was characterised by microscopic examination of scats from individuals trapped after their translocation to these areas.
At Bald Island a diverse range of fungi was consumed immediately after translocation. Four potoroos released onto the
island only 48 days previously consumed 23 species of fungi. Consumption was sustained over time. Three potoroos
released onto Bald Island 12 years previously and one island-born individual consumed 27 species of fungi during a
two-day sampling period. Nine of the 27 fungi species were the same as those that had been consumed by the potoroos
within days after their release onto the island. This indicates that production of fungi and their consumption by potoroos
on the island was sustained at least 12 years after translocation. Potoroos bred on Bald Island during this period. During
the same period, two potoroos that were moved from captivity to the mainland site (Ryedene) were consuming six
species of trufes within 29 days after release, and 14 species within three months. Such data indicate that a wider
selection of vegetation types and areas than just those similar to where potoroos occur at Two Peoples Bay may be able
to sustain potoroos and should be investigated for future translocations.
Additional keywords: fungi, mycophagy, Potorous gilbertii, translocation, trufes.
Introduction
The critically endangered mammal Gilberts potoroo (Potorous
gilbertii) was rediscovered in 1994 at Two Peoples Bay Nature
Reserve east of Albany on the south coast of Western Australia
(Sinclair et al. 1995). Previously, Gilbert s potoroo had been
recorded as abundant in the Albany area (Gould 1863), but the
species was presumed to be extinct since last recorded in the
1870s. Fewer than 40 individuals exist in the single population
discovered in 1994. Natural populations of Gilberts potoroos
now are known from only ve areas of shrubby heath on the
Mount Gardner peninsula within Two Peoples Bay Nature
Reserve (Friend 2003). Hence the species remains extremely
vulnerable to extinction. In response, Western Australias
Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has
established a recovery program for Gilberts potoroo (Courtenay
and Friend 2004). The program aims to establish potoroos in
areas where they may have occurred in the past and where foxes
and cats are absent, excluded by fencing or controlled by poison
baiting. Signicant aspects of potoroo biology that might
determine translocation success and breeding success are likely
to include diet and interaction with other organisms, particularly
fungi. Fungi, predominantly trufe-like fungi, are a signicant
food source for many small mammals, including potoroos, in
Australia (Claridge et al. 1996, 2007; Tory et al. 1997). More
than 2000 species of native trufes may occur in Australia and
more than 95% of known species are endemic to Australia
(Bougher and Lebel 2001). Gilbert
s potoroo is considered to be
an obligate mycophagist (Maser et al. 2008). At Two Peoples
Bay Nature Reserve, the species only known natural refuge,
trufes are the major component of its diet (Bougher 1998;
Australian Mammal Society 2009 10.1071/AM09012 0310-0049/09/020097
CSIRO PUBLISHING
www.publish.csiro.au/journals/am Australian Mammalogy, 2009, 31,97105
Nguyen 2000; Nguyen et al. 2005). The fungi interact with
plants in the potoroos habitat such as Gastrolobium and
Eucalyptus via their mycorrhizal associations. The survival of
Gilberts potoroo, the fungi it eats, and the plants of its habitat
are likely to be tightly interdependent. A diverse and sustainable
supply of native fungi is likely to be a prerequisite for successful
translocation and sustained survival of translocated potoroos.
However, it was not known whether potoroos translocated to
any new areas would be able to rapidly access and consume
fungi after translocation, or whether trufes could be a
sustainable food supporting breeding populations of potoroos
in translocation sites.
The rst translocation of Gilberts potoroos was undertaken
in 2005, to Bald Island, a mainly granite island of 809 ha off
the south coast of Western Australia (Friend et al . 2005). Since
their release, a series of translocated potoroos have survived,
reared offspring, and consumed trufes on the island (Friend
2006). Bald Island has areas, unburnt for at least 20 years, of
shrubby and heath vegetation and exposed granite rock similar to
areas at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. It was not known
whether such areas would be the only areas suitable for
translocating Gilberts potoroos. As part of a breeding
experiment, a male and a female potoroo from a captive colony
were released in 2007 to a 14-ha fenced site on the mainland
dominated by eucalypt woodland, unburnt for at least 20 years.
An assessment was made of the fungi consumed by
translocated potoroos soon after translocation and at later
times, at these two sites with contrasting vegetation (1) to
conrm and document the consumption of fungi by potoroos
immediately after translocation, (2) to determine whether
successful translocation and establishment of a breeding
population of potoroos at Bald Island parallels sustained
consumption of fungi up to two years after translocation, and
(3) to assess the diversity of the fungi consumed.
Materials and methods
Two potoroo translocation sites in the south coastal region of
Western Australia were studied Bald Island and an enclosure
in remnant woodland at Ryedene farm, near Two Peoples Bay.
Bald Island (809 ha) is a designated Nature Reserve situated
~1.5 km off the coast 40 km east of Albany (34
55
0
S, 118
28
0
E).
Ryedene farm is located ~5 km from the south coast 25 km
east of Albany (34
56
0
S, 118
05
0
E). The translocation site
comprises 14 ha of remnant bush surrounded by a 2.1-m-high
oppy-top vermin-proof fence erected in 2006. Former pasture
land adjacent to the enclosure has been converted to a
commercial Eucalyptus globulus plantation.
Potoroos translocated onto Bald Island were taken from the
wild population at Two Peoples Bay and kept in captivity for
several weeks before they were translocated. During the captive
phase the potoroos were fed on an arti cial diet lacking any
fungal component. On Bald Island, scats from potoroos were
obtained from animals trapped during monitoring sessions.
Cage traps (Mascot Wire Works collapsible 200 mm
200 mm 560 mm rat/bandicoot traps) were set using a bait of
peanut butter, rolled oats and pistachio nut avour. Traps
were checked early each morning and captured potoroos were
released after a brief examination. Scats deposited in the cages
were placed into vials of 70% alcohol for storage and later
examination.
At Bald Island, scats were obtained from four individual
potoroos during their rst few days after translocation in
2005 and 2006. Then, over a period of two days during August
2007, scats were obtained from three individual potoroos
12 years after their translocation onto Bald Island. Scats from
an island-born individual were also sampled in 2007. Fruit
bodies of trufes were sampled from soil within 100 m of the
potoroo traps at the same time as scats were obtained, to enable
spores in scats to be compared with spores from fruit bodies.
Hand rakes were used to nd trufe fungi by raking in the
leaf litter and in the soil to a maximum depth of ~10 cm.
Morphological attributes of the fresh fruit bodies were
recorded, and then specimens were forcibly air-dried at
45
C. Collection numbers referred to in this paper correspond
with permanent vouchers of the fungi lodged at the Western
Australian Herbarium (PERTH).
Scats and fruit bodies were later examined using a
compound microscope at 1000 magnication. Scats were
analysed for spores by randomly selecting out ve portions
~1 mm
3
from each collection of scats. Each portion was directly
placed onto a microscope slide without sieving. Sieving was
not required due to low amounts of detritus and non-fungal
material in the scat samples. After addition of a drop of either
Melzers reagent or 3% KOH, a coverslip was added. Twenty
random elds of view for each slide were examined each in
Melzers reagent and in KOH. The presence and absence of
spore types was scored.
Two potoroos were translocated to the fenced site at
Ryedene in November 2007. While the animals were free to
roam within the fenced area of 14 ha, supplementary food was
provided daily in bowls placed on rubber mats within a small
feeding enclosure with access to the larger area. The diet
comprised vegetables, fruit, nuts, cereals and cultivated
mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). Scats from the Ryedene
potoroos were recovered from feeding mats or taken from cage
traps when animals were trapped for checking between one and
three months later.
Results
Potoroos resident on Bald Island for 4 to 8 days
Twenty-three spore types were found in scat samples obtained
from four potoroos 48 days after their translocation onto Bald
Island (Table 1, Figs 17). Twenty-one of the spore types
could be assigned to fungal genera. Of those, three could be
matched to particular fungi species Archangelliela daucina,
Hydnoplicata convoluta, and Hysterangium inatum (Fig. 4).
Three spore types could not be assigned to any fungal taxon.
No plant material, insects or other animal material was present
in the scat portions examined. The scats of each of the individual
potoroos had multiple spore types ranging from 9 (potoroo F100)
to 17 (M99). Female 100 was the most recently translocated
individual as she had been transferred to Bald Island only 4 days
before her scats were sampled. The most abundant spore type
in scats of female potoroo F100 was Hysterangium sp. 2, which
was determined to be the source of a gummy mycelium and
mycelial cords in the scats. The cords form root-like structures
98 Australian Mammalogy N. L. Bougher and J. A. Friend
Table 1. Types and identities of fungi spores in scats of Gilberts potoroo (Potorous gilbertii) resident on Bald Island within days of translocation
(2005 scats), and 12 years later (2007 scats)
Scat samples 2005: Potoroo M72: 5 days after translocation to Bald Island; M99: 8 days, F98: 8 days, F100: 4 days. Scat samples 2007: Potoroo F98
translocated 9.viii.2005, sampled 14.viii.2007 and 15.viii.2007 (indicated by an asterisk); F100 translocated 7.xii.2005, sampled 15.viii.2007; M114 translocated
28.viii.2006, sampled 15.viii.2007; F118 island born, sampled 15.viii.2007. Presence in scats is indicated by +, or by (+) if fewer than 10 spores were observed.
Colour of spores refers to colour in Melzers reagent
Identity Matching Spore characteristics Bald Island scats 2005 Bald Island scats 2007
fruit body M72 M99 F98 F100 F98 F98* F100 M114 F118
collection no.
Archangellielia daucina BOUGHER
382
Globose, blue, with a strong reticulum
with tall ridges up to 1 mm tall, pale
blue in between ridges, 7.79.6 mm.
+ (+) (+) +++++
Austrogautieria sp. Fusoid, golden yellowish to greenish,
longitudinally ridged, perisporium
loosening, 12.517 5.4 8.8 mm
+++ +++++
Boletus sp. Fusoid, yellowish, smooth-walled,
adaxially asymmetrical.
––+
Chondrogaster sp. BOUGHER
367, 390
Fusoid, pale brown, with an inating
blistering perisporium, 9.412
4.25.7 mm.
+ ++
Cystangium seminudum BOUGHER
385, 386
Globose, blue, densely spinose,
7.29.3 mm.
+ + ––
Descomyces sp. Ellipsoid, bright yellowish-brown, with
a ne verrucose ornamentation, some
with a smooth mucronate apex
emerging from a pale orange-brown
perisporium which is often truncate
at the base, 14.116.4 8.29.2 m
m.
++
Elaphomyces sp. 1 Globose, black, with a surface of
crowded, minute warts/dimples,
11.913.1 mm.
+++
Elaphomyces sp. 2 Globose, black (bluish in KOH), with a
surface of crowded warts up to
1.5 mm tall, 10.212.0 mm. A smaller
spore with coarser warts than
Elaphomyces sp., and more bluish
in KOH.
––+
Elaphomyces sp. 3 BOUGHER
387
Globose, dark blackish-olive, densely
warted/spinose, 12.214.9 mm.
+ ++
Glomus sp. Globose, bright yellow, with
conspicuous attachment hyphae.
+ –––
Gymnomyces boranupensis BOUGHER
375, 376
Globose, blue, with a broken reticulum,
910 mm diameter.
++ ––+
Gymnomyces sp. 1 Globose, blackish-blue, with a strong
but broken reticulum, tall at-topped
ridges up to 1.5 mm tall, pale
yellowish in between ridges,
10.412.9 mm diameter.
+ (+) ––
Gymnomyces sp. 2 Ellipsoid to subglobose, faintly
amyloid, with isolated short warts or
ne broken reticulum, apiclulus
prominent, 7.09.1 7.07.6 mm.
+++
Gymnomyces sp. 3 BOUGHER
370
Subglobose, faintly blue, isolated short
warts, prominent hilar appendix up to
2 mm long, 7.38.1
7.15.7 mm.
+++++
Gymnomyces ? sp. 4 Globose, dark purple, with a strong
reticulum, ridges up to 1.5 mm tall,
18.9 mm diameter (only one spore
seen).
–– +
Gymnomyces ? sp. 5 Globose, dark blue, with a strong
reticulum, tall ridges up to 2.5 mm,
8.7 mm diameter (only one spore
seen).
–– ++
(Continued next page)
Diet of translocated Gilbertss potoroo Australian Mammalogy 99
Table 1. (Continued )
Identity Matching Spore characteristics Bald Island scats 2005 Bald Island scats 2007
fruit body M72 M99 F98 F100 F98 F98* F100 M114 F118
collection no.
Gymnomyces ? sp. 6 Globose, dark blue, with a broken
reticulum, tall ridges up to 2 mm,
12.214.7 mm diameter.
–– +
Gymnomyces/Cystangium Globose, blue, with large isolated pegs,
isolated, not densely spaced,
6.18.4 mm.
+ +++
Hydnoplicata convoluta Broad ellipsoid, hyaline to pale
yellowish, rugulose-wrinkled,
sometimes with a partial broad
reticulum, overlying perisporium
with gelatinous material, thin-
walled, 10.913.3 8.89.6 mm.
(+) (+) (+) ––+++
Hysterangium cf. afne BOUGHER
363, 378, 389
Fusoid, hyaline, without a perisporium,
apiculus not conspicuous,
8.3 3.6 mm.
++ + + +
Hysterangium inatum Fusoid, hyaline, smooth, with a wing-
like perisporium extending out up to
2 mm, 10.511.8 3.36.7 mm.
(+) (+) + –– +
Hysterangium sp. 1 Fusoid, hyaline, thin-walled, smooth
but with a perisporium fragmenting
into small lumps, hyaline, hilar
appendix inconspicuous beak-like,
14.2 4.4 mm.
++++
Hysterangium sp. 2 Fusoid, hyaline, thin-walled, smooth,
without a perisporium, apiculus
truncate and not conspicuous,
10.111.8 4.0
4.2 mm.
++++
Hysterangium sp. cystidioid BOUGHER
379, 380, 392
Fusoid, hyaline, with a wrinkling
perisporium, 14.2 4.4 mm.
++ + + +
Mesophellia sp. Ellipsoid to subfusoid, hyaline to pale
yellowish, often with a bottle-shaped
basal section, smooth to slightly
uneven, thin-walled, with a broad
truncate base lacking a projecting
hilar appendix, 9.410.8
4.44.8 mm.
++
Pogisperma sp. 1 BOUGHER
362, 384
Small cylindric, hyaline, hilar appendix
inconspicuous, 5.47.5
2.93.6 mm.
+ + (+) ++ + + +
Pogisperma sp. 2/Trappea sp. Cylindric, hyaline, thin and smooth-
walled, hilar appendix not visible,
3.84.9 1.72.3 mm.
++++
Protoglossum/Cortinarius? Ellipsoid, asymmetrical in side view,
bright brown, nely ornamented,
7.18.8 5.05.8 mm.
+ (+) (+) + + –––
Protoglossum sp. 1 BOUGHER
365, 366
Ellipsoid, bright brown, verrucose or
with a broken reticulum, perisporium
non-inating, 12.714.1
7.79.6 mm.
+++ ++ –––
Protoglossum sp. 2 Broad ovoid to turbinate, dark red
brown, thick-walled, irregularly
verrucose with broad and rounded
warts up to 1 mm tall 3 mm wide
often coalescing with other, hilar
appendix small, perisporium absent
or inconspicuous, 13.317.6
12.715.9 mm.
+ + (+) (+) + + + + +
100 Australian Mammalogy N. L. Bougher and J. A. Friend
in the scats easily seen with the naked eye. Potoroos F98 and
M99, which had been translocated 8 days before sampling,
had the highest number of spore types 16 and 17 respectively.
In all, 17 of the 23 spore types were present in the scats of more
than one animal. Five spore types were in all scats: Hysterangium
sp. 1, Hysterangium sp. 2, Pogisperma sp. 2, Protoglossum sp. 2
(Fig. 6) and Protoglossum/Cortinarius (Table 1). Six spore
types were represented in only one of the individual animals:
the three spore types of unknown identity, Elaphomyces sp. 2,
Protoglossum sp. 5, and Boletus sp. The relative abundance of
spore types in scats varied. For example, in comparing
Pogisperma in the two males, Pogisperma sp. 2 was relatively
more abundant in scats of M99 than in M72, but the other
larger-spored Pogisperma sp. 1 (Fig. 7) was less abundant in M99
than in M72.
Potoroos resident on Bald Island for 12 years
Five scat samples were obtained from four individual potoroos,
including an island-born individual (F118). Potoroo F98 was
Table 1. (Continued )
Identity Matching Spore characteristics Bald Island scats 2005 Bald Island scats 2007
fruit body M72 M99 F98 F100 F98 F98* F100 M114 F118
collection no.
Protoglossum sp. 3 Slender ellipsoid, attened on adaxial
side, dark orange-brown, coarsely
verrucose with broad rounded warts
including on the non-mucronate
apex, hilar appendix claw-like,
13.917.4 8.310.2 mm.
–– + ––
Protoglossum sp. 4 Subglobose, orange-brown, with an
amber perisporium overlying
irregular warts up to 1 mm tall, and a
square, often broken apiculus,
13.8 15.1 10.712.4 mm.
++
Protoglossum sp. 5 Ellipsoid, golden bright brown,
enveloped within an extremely
inated perisporium out to 6 mm
beyond the spore wall proper, less
so at the spore base, perisporium
hyaline at rst then amber,
ornamentation of narrow spine-like
warts extending up to 3 mm
embedded in the perisporium and
sometimes appearing longer than
3 mm, 10.214.2 7.17.8 mm
(spore only, not perisporium).
––+
Pseudohysterangium/
Hysterogaster
BOUGHER
374
Fusoid, some asymmetrical, brown
(dextrinoid), smooth, thick-walled,
11.013.1 4.45 mm.
++ + ––
Quadrispora tubercularis Ellipsoid to suballantoid, adhering in
clusters of four, bright brown.
+ –––
Unknown 1 Globose, bright golden, coarsely
warted, with polygonal compound
warts up to 2.5 mm tall, 6.6
16.2 mm
diameter.
+ –– + –– +
Unknown 2 Globose, bright golden, surface
irregularly wrinkled or nely
verrucose or with small sharp-
pointed spines, 15.6 mm diameter.
+ ––
Unknown 3 Globose, dull brown, strongly reticulate
with pegs up to 1.6 mm tall.
–– +
Unknown (immature
Hydnoplicata?)
Ovoid, hyaline (some faintly
dextrinoid), thin-walled, smooth,
hilar appendix not visible,
7.08.6 4.24.9 mm.
+ ––
Unknown ( Octavianina ?) Subglobose, pale yellowish, coarsely
reticulate with tall ridges.
++ + ––
Unknown ascomycete Broad fusoid, pale, with a truncate
projecting appendage at both ends.
+ –––
Diet of translocated Gilbertss potoroo Australian Mammalogy 101
trapped twice in successive days (Table 1). A total of 27 spore
types were observed in the scats examined (Table 1). Twenty-
three of the spore types could be assigned to fungal genera.
Of those, seven could be matched to particular fungi species
Archangellielia daucina, Cystangium seminudum, Gymnomyces
boranupensis, Hydnoplicata convoluta, Hysterangium cf. afne,
Hysterangium inatum and Quadrispora tubercularis. Four
spore types could not be assigned to any fungal taxon. One of
the translocated individuals with a one-month-old pouch
young (F98) had consumed 20 species of fungi. The occurrence
of spore types among the various scats was variable. Seven
spore types were observed in all scats examined: Archangellielia
daucina, Austrogautieria sp., Gymnomyces sp. 3, Hysterangium
cf. afne, Hysterangium sp. cystidioid, Pogisperma sp. 1 and
Protoglossum sp. 2 (Table 1). Fruit bodies of all of those fungi
species were also observed near the traps except for
Austrogautieria and Protoglossum. Eight spore types were
common to all four individual potoroos trapped. Nine spore
types were observed only once an unknown ascomycete,
Glomus sp., two Gymnomyces species (4, 6), Hysterangium
inatum, Protoglossum/Cortinarius, Protoglossum sp. 3,
Quadrispora tubercularis and Unknown 3. None of those fungi
were observed as fruit bodies. Nine spore types occurred in
both 2005 scats and 2007 scats (Table 1).
Trufe fruit bodies sampled at Bald Island
Twenty-eight collections of trufe fungi, representing 16 species,
were made at Bald Island at the same time and locations as
scats of potoroos resident on Bald Island for 12 years were
sampled in 2007. Eleven of these are listed with their assigned
collection numbers in Table 1. Five other species were observed
only as fruit bodies and were not represented in any of the
scats examined. They are: Mesophellia brevispora (BOUGHER
368, 381), and an unidentied species each of Descomyces
(BOUGHER 372, 373), Gymnomyces (BOUGHER 369),
Hysterangium (BOUGHER 371, 377), and Trappea
(BOUGHER 388). All 16 species were Basidiomycetes except
for one the ascomycete Elaphomyces sp. 3. Eleven of the
16 species were identied only to genus and further
identication of them awaits further taxonomic study.
Comparison between scats and fruit bodies sampled
at same time and locations at Bald Island
Eleven of the 27 (41%) spore types in scats obtained from
potoroos resident on Bald Island for 12 years matched spores of
trufe fruit bodies collected in the eld at Bald Island at the
same time during this study. Five of those 11 trufe species were
observed in all scats examined Archangellielia daucina,
Figs 17. Selection out of the 23 spore types observed in scats from Gilberts potoroo (Potorous
gilbertii) within 48 days of their translocation onto Bald Island. (1, 2) Austrogautieria sp.;
(3) Mesophellia sp.; (4) Hysterangium inatum; (5) Gymnomyces sp. 1; (6) Protoglossum sp. 2;
(7) Pogisperma sp. 1. Bar scale for all images, 10 mm.
102 Australian Mammalogy N. L. Bougher and J. A. Friend
Gymnomyces sp. 3, Hysterangium cf. afne, Hysterangium sp.
cystidioid and Pogisperma sp. 1. Sixteen of the 27 (59%) spore
types in scats did not match any of the sampled fruit bodies
(Table 1). Conversely, some of the trufes collected as fruit
bodies were not represented in any of the scats examined 5 out of
the 16 trufe species (31%). For example spores of Mesophellia
brevispora were not observed in scats, even though there was
evidence in the eld that its fruit bodies recently had been
consumed by animals. In some cases, fruit bodies of a particular
trufe species collected near to where a particular potoroo was
trapped also occurred as spores in the scats of that individual. For
example, Archangellielia daucina and Pogisperma sp. 1 were
found fruiting near to where F98 was trapped, and were also
present as spores in the scats of that potoroo. However, this was
not the case for many of the fungi. For example, six species of
trufe fungi were collected near to where F118 was trapped, but
only two of the fungi (Hysterangium cf. afne and Hysterangium
sp. cystidioid) were observed in its scats. In some cases spores
of a fungus collected as fruit bodies were observed in scats from
an individual other than from the nearest trapped potoroo,
e.g. Cystangium seminudum was found fruiting near F118s trap
site but its spores were found in the scats of F98 and F100 and
not of F118.
Scats sampled at Ryedene
Within 29 days after their release at Ryedene two potoroos
(M46 and P93) were accessing six types of trufes, as represented
by six spore types (Table 2). Within three months after their
release these potoroos and potoroo M46 had 14 spore types in
their scats. Four spore types were common in all samples
Hysterangium sp., Pogisperma sp. 2, Elaphomyces sp., and
Austrogautieria sp. Scats of M46 at three months after
translocation had the most spore types nine (Table 2). Minor
amounts of roots and plant material were present in scats
from Ryedene, estimated to comprise less than 1% of the volume
of the scats.
Discussion
This study conrms that translocated potoroos commence
foraging for, and consuming, fungi within days after their
release into areas with contrasting vegetation. Fungi are the
exclusive (Bald Island) or predominant (Ryedene) component
of their diet. This study also conrms that consumption of a
diverse range of fungi by potoroos at translocation sites can be
sustained long after translocation, as indicated by the presence
of 27 spore types in potoroo scats at Bald Island 12 years
after translocation. Furthermore, sustained trufe production
and consumption of them by potoroos on Bald Island has
provided suf
cient nutritional value to achieve successful
reproduction, as evidenced by the recording of many pouch
young and the presence of several island-born individuals
(J. A. Friend, unpubl. data). Conrmation in this study that
Gilberts potoroos can rapidly acquire fungi in new areas with
different vegetation types is not surprising as this species is
known to have occurred more widely in the past (Courtenay
and Friend 2004).
The diversity of fungi consumed by translocated potoroos
on Bald Island and at Ryedene is comparable to that of the
natural population of potoroos at Two Peoples Bay Nature
Reserve. About 25 spore types were found in 10 scats collected
during the period December 1994 to March 1998 in the rst
study of fungi consumed by natural populations of Gilberts
potoroos at Two Peoples Bay (Bougher 1998). Nguyen (2000)
and Nguyen et al. (2005) reported up to 44 fungal spore types in
54 scats collected JuneSeptember 2000. The current study
shows that individual potoroos foraging in the same or nearby
locations may consume different sets of fungi at the same time,
and each type in different relative amounts. Only 4 of the 23
(in 2005) and 7 of the 27 (in 2007) spore types were common to
scats of all four individual potoroos examined at those times.
Some of these differences may be a reection of the limited
sampling undertaken in this study, and it is not known how
differences in foraging patterns and preferences between
individuals may vary over time.
In similarity with other studies on potoroo mycophagy, many
of the trufe fungi recorded in the current study are endemic to
Australia but known to be widespread throughout the continent
(Bougher and Lebel 2001; Bougher et al. 2008). Identication
of many of the fungi remains problematic, and some of the fungi
may be unnamed, undescribed new species to science. Species
of Mesophellia, Castoreum and Hysterangium have often been
found to be the most abundant trufe fungi consumed by
Gilberts potoroo at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve (Bougher
1998; Nguyen et al. 2005) and by other potoroids (Claridge
et al. 1993a, 2007). In the current study, this was also the case
for Hysterangium but not so for Mesophellia or Castoreum.
Different trufe species fruit at different times of the year
(Claridge et al. 1993b) and perhaps the latter two fungi become
more abundant at other times of the year. Far more trufe
fungi and other fungi species are likely to occur at the
translocation sites than the species obtained in this preliminary
survey. Some of the most widespread and common species
of trufes known in the region were not found fruiting during
this study. For example, although the spores of Austrogautieria
were observed in all scat samples at Bald Island during August
2007 no fruit bodies were found there at that time. The
limitations of sampling in this current study were compounded
by being undertaken towards or beyond the end of the likely
main fruiting season for fungi in the region, particularly the
August sampling at Bald Island. A sparse representation of
spores of epigeous (above-ground fruiting) fungi in scats of
Gilberts potoroo examined in the current study is also
comparable to other studies so far (e.g. Bougher 1998; Nguyen
et al. 2005).
This study has indicated that a wider range of vegetation
types than those found in potoroo habitat at Two Peoples Bay
should sustain translocated potoroos and therefore should be
investigated further for future translocations. Because of the
pivotal roles that fungi have for potoroos, the abundance and
diversity of fungi present at translocation sites need to assessed
before committing to release Gilberts potoroos. This current
study suggests that assessment of fungi available to potoroos
based on scats can capture a different representation of fungal
diversity to that obtained by sampling fruit bodies at the
same time and locations. In this study at Bald Island in 2007
scat sampling captured a different and greater proportion of
fungal diversity than fruit body sampling, but both were
Diet of translocated Gilbertss potoroo Australian Mammalogy 103
complementary 41% of the 27 spore types in scats
matched spores of fruit bodies, while 69% of the 16 trufe fungi
species collected as fruit bodies were present in the scats.
The limited fruit body sampling in this study undoubtedly
did not reveal all the trufe fungi fruiting in a given area.
However, in many cases fruit bodies of a particular trufe
species collected near to where a particular potoroo was trapped
did not correspond to any of the spores in the scats of that
individual. For example, spores of Mesophellia brevispora
were not observed in scats sampled even though discarded
fruit body shells and intact fruit bodies were observed in the
eld near an animal trapped on the same day (M114). This is
undoubtedly due to the long distances traversed by most
potoroos each night and the extensive area thus available to
them for feeding. It is not unusual for a potoroo to be trapped
at sites 400 m apart on consecutive nights. The contents of
scats are likely to represent the feeding activity of more than
24 h earlier, as gut passage times of 2430 h have been
recorded in other potoroos and bettongs (Wallis 1994). The
complementary nature of scat and fruit body assessments
suggests that long-term monitoring of fungal diversity in the diet
of Gilberts potoroo and the diversity available in natural and
translocation potoroo habitats should involve both types of
sampling.
Table 2. Types and identities of fungi spores in scats of Gilberts potoroo (Potorous gilbertii) translocated to Ryedene
Scat samples: M46/P93 (a) = Potoroos M46 and P93 (mixed), 28 days after translocation; M46/P93 (b) = M46 and P93, 29 days; M46/P93 (c) = M46 and P93,
2 months; P93, 3 months; M46, 3 months. Presence in scats is indicated by +, or by (+) if fewer than 10 spores were observed. Colour of spores refers to
colour in Melzers reagent
Identity Spore characteristics M46/P93 (a) M46/P93 (b) M46/P93 (c) P93 M46
Agaricus bisporus Broad ellipsoid to cylindric, adaxially
asymmetrical, brown smooth, thick-walled, small
apiculus, 7.49.1 5.15.9 mm.
+
Austrogautieria sp. Fusoid, golden yellowish or greenish, longitudinally
ridged, up to 8 ridges sometimes anastomosing,
extending to and converging at spore apex and
base, apex not mucronate, perisporium loosening,
16.517 7.38.8 mm.
+ + + (+) +
Elaphomyces sp. Globose, black, densely warted/spinose, without
a hilar appendix, 10.511.7 mm diameter.
+++++
Glomus sp. 1 Globose, bright yellow-orange, with a sculptured
wall up to 7 mm thick, up to 75 mm diameter.
+
Glomus sp. 2 Globose, glassy, thick multilayered wall up to 30 mm
wide, inner wall 45 mm wide, up to 210 mm
diameter.
+
Gymnomyces/Cystangium Globose, dark purple, with a broken reticulum,
ridges/warts up to 0.5 mm tall, 7.2 mm diameter
(only one spore seen).
(+)
Hysterangium sp. Fusoid, hyaline or pale brown, smooth, at rst
without a conspicuous perisporium which later
disintegrates/loosens, hilar appendix truncate,
11.413 3.84.6 mm.
+++++
Hysterangium/Chondrogaster Fusoid, golden yellowish, entirely covered by
a thick wrinkled/blistering perisporium,
14.1
16.3 6.57.2 mm.
+++
Hysterogaster sp. Fusoid, smooth, bright brown, thick-walled, hilar
appendix small, no persiporium, 13.214.2
5.66.8 mm.
+
Mesophellia sp. Ellipsoid to narrow ellipsoid, hyaline, smooth, with
a broad intact truncate base, without a projecting
hilar appendix.
+
Pogisperma sp. 1 Cylindric, hyaline, smooth, no periporium, some
appear two-celled, 6.27.9 2.12.8 mm.
++
Pogisperma sp. 2 Fusoid, hyaline or pale brown, narrow cylindrical or
ellipsoid, with a rounded apex and base, smooth,
without a conspicuous perisporium, hilar
appendix inconspicuous, 7.68.2 3.03.6 mm.
+++++
Scleroderma/Pisolithus ? Globose, bright yellowish-orange, thick-walled,
with densely arranged spines up to 0.5 mm tall,
11.513.2 mm diameter.
++
Unknown Globose to ellipsoid (variable), hyaline, thin-walled,
often in tight irregular clusters, 7.68.2
3.03.6 mm. Possibly a mitosporic fungus?
+
104 Australian Mammalogy N. L. Bougher and J. A. Friend
Acknowledgements
We thank Louisa Bell, Stephanie Hill, Tim Button, Val Hack and Susanne
Schreck, DEC Science Division Albany, for excellent technical assistance,
and Peter Collins, DEC Albany District, for his superb boatmanship during
our trips between the mainland and Bald Island, contributions that made
possible the activities outlined in this paper. Funding for aspects of the
Gilberts potoroo recovery program central to this study was provided by the
Australian Governments Natural Heritage Trust program delivered through
South Coast NRM, the Foundation for Australias Most Endangered
Species, and DECs Saving Our Species and Remote Regions Conservation
Programs.
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Diet of translocated Gilbertss potoroo Australian Mammalogy 105
http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/am
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Retention times of a particulate marker ( $^{103}Ru-P$ ) and of a solute marker ( $^{51}Cr$ EDTA) were measured in the gastrointestinal tracts of three species of potoroine marsupials (small nocturnal macropodoids) who were fed grain-based diets containing variable concentrations of fiber. The observed distribution of retention times can be described by a general curve whose characteristics show a delay period, during which there is little or no excretion of marker, followed by a sharp rise to a peak concentration. After the peak, the curve falls exponentially. Thus, in the present experiments, while there was a difference of 8-10 h between the excretion of 5% and 50% of the markers, 30-50 h elapsed between the excretion of 50% and 95% and of 95% and 99%. The similarity of mean retention times (MRT) (25-30 h) of the two markers in the gastrointestinal tracts of potoroine marsupials contrasts with the marked separation of digesta phases in macropodids. The different patterns of digesta flow in the two groups were explained by differences in foregut anatomy. The lack of phase separation observed in this study tends to contrast also with radiographic studies in potoroine marsupials that indicated that large particles are retained longer than solutes in the foregut. However, similar overall MRTs may result from particle retention in the foregut and from solute retention in the hindgut. No significant differences were found between Aepyprymnus rufescens, Potorous tridactylus, or Bettongia penicillata for any parameter of digesta passage. Potoroines are strictly nocturnal (Bettongia and Aepyprymnus) or crepuscular (Potorous) and show a spate of feeding and excretion just after dark. Furthermore, digesta passage was not affected by the level of dietary plants' cell wall constituents or by the level of gut fill when the markers were administered. Because MRTs in all three species were often between 24 h and 30 h, it seems probable that digesta flow in potoroines is regulated to comply with their circadian rhythm.
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Three broad dietary categories - fungus, plant and arthropod - were identified from faecal samples of two species of small terrestrial mammal in forest vegetation in southwestern Victoria. Fungal material formed the major component of the diet of the long-nosed potoroo Potorous tridactylus throughout the year and of the bush rat Rattus fuscipes during autumn and winter. Fungal material was most abundant for both species during autumn and winter and significantly less common in spring and summer. These results confirm previous studies which found P. tridactylus to be highly mycophagous throughout the year and R. fuscipes to be strongly mycophagous seasonally. Particular consideration was given to the composition of fungi in the diet. Fungal spores in faecal material were assigned to spore classes, which represent one or more fungal species that have similar spore morphology. Twenty-four fungal spore classes were recorded, but for both animal species most of the fungi consumed were from seven major spore classes. The proportions of major spore classes in the diet of both animals were generally similar, even though the composition of spore classes differed markedly across seasons. Minor differences between species in the fungi consumed may be related to differences in selectivity, foraging, or microhabitat use. If fungal resources are limiting, competition for such resources may be important in this and other small mammal communities. The amount and diversity of hypogeal fungi consumed by the two animal species makes them both important spore dispersal agents in forest ecosystems. The capacity of R. fuscipes and other seasonally mycophagous mammals in this role may be more important than previously recognized, especially in habitats where species of the Potoroidae are absent.
Article
Three broad dietary categories—fungus, plant and arthropod—were identified from faecal samples of two species of small terrestrial mammal in forest vegetation in southwestern Victoria. Fungal material formed the major component of the diet of the long-nosed potoroo Potorous tridactylus throughout the year and of the bush rat Rattus fuscipes during autumn and winter. Fungal material was most abundant for both species during autumn and winter and significantly less common in spring and summer. These results confirm previous studies which found P. tridactylus to be highly mycophagous throughout the year and R. fuscipes to be strongly mycophagous seasonally. Particular consideration was given to the composition of fungi in the diet. Fungal spores in faecal material were assigned to spore classes, which represent one or more fungal species that have similar spore morphology. Twenty-four fungal spore classes were recorded, but for both animal species most of the fungi consumed were from seven major spore classes. The proportions of major spore classes in the diet of both animals were generally similar, even though the composition of spore classes differed markedly across seasons. Minor differences between species in the fungi consumed may be related to differences in selectivity, foraging, or microhabitat use. If fungal resources are limiting, competition for such resources may be important in this and other small mammal communities. The amount and diversity of hypogeal fungi consumed by the two animal species makes them both important spore dispersal agents in forest ecosystems. The capacity of R. fuscipes and other seasonally mycophagous mammals in this role may be more important than previously recognized, especially in habitats where species of the Potoroidae are absent.
Article
The diet of the long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus), a medium-sized ground-dwelling marsupial, was monitored (using faecal analysis) in a multiaged eucalypt forest site, and a regrowth eucalypt forest site in south-eastern Australia. In the multiaged forest P. tridactylus was primarily mycophagous, consuming the sporocarps (fruiting bodies) of at least 58 fungal species. Most of these taxa were hypogeal (underground fruiting) basidiomycetes thought to form mycorrhizae on the roots of a variety of plants. The percentage occurrence of fungus in faeces decreased in spring and summer and increased in autumn and winter. This pattern was opposite to the changing occurrence in faeces of other food types, and the percentage occurrence of spores of a major fungus species. At the regrowth forest site the quantity of fungus in faeces of P. tridactylus was lower but more constant over time. There were also differences in the percentage occurrence of spores of at least two fungal species. Additionally, the diversity of fungal taxa found as spores in faeces at the regrowth site was significantly lower (on average) than that recorded in faeces from the multiaged site. Differences in the fungal diets of the two P. tridactylus populations may be partially attributable to the disturbance (fire and logging) histories of each site.
Article
In the multi-aged forest P. tridactylus was primarily mycophagous, consuming the sporocarps (fruiting bodies) of at least 58 fungal species. Most of these taxa were hypogeal (underground fruiting) basidiomycetes thought to form mycorrhizae on the roots of a variety of plants. The percentage occurrence of fungus in faeces decreased in spring and summer and increased in autumn and winter. This pattern was opposite to the changing occurrence in faeces of other food types, and the percentage occurrence of spores of a major fungus species. At the regrowth forest site the quantity of fungus in faeces was lower but more constant over time. There were also differences in the percentage occurrence of spores of at least two fungal species. The diversity of fungal taxa found as spores in faeces at the regrowth site was significantly lower than that recorded from the multiaged site. Differences in fungal diets may be partially attributable to fire and logging histories. -from Authors
Book
In today's world of specialization, people are attempting to protect the Earth's fragile state by swapping limousines for hybrids and pesticide-laced foods for organic produce. At other times, environmental awareness is translated into public relations gimmicks or trendy commodities. Moreover, simplistic policies, like single-species protection or planting ten trees for every tree cut down, are touted as bureaucratic or industrial panaceas. Because today's decisions are tomorrow's consequences, every small effort makes a difference, but a broader understanding of our environmental problems is necessary to the development of sustainable ecosystem policies. In Trees, Truffles, and Beasts, Chris Maser, Andrew W. Claridge, and James M. Trappe make a compelling case that we must first understand the complexity and interdependency of species and habitats from the microscopic level to the gigantic. Comparing forests in the Pacific Northwestern United States and Southeastern mainland of Australia, the authors show how easily observable speciesùtrees and mammalsùare part of a complicated infrastructure that includes fungi, lichens, and organisms invisible to the naked eye, such as microbes. Eminently readable, this important book shows that forests are far more complicated than most of us might think, which means simplistic policies will not save them. Understanding the biophysical intricacies of our life-support systems just might. Copyright © 2008 by Chris Maser, Andrew W. Claridge, and James M. Trappe. All rights reserved.