Populations trends, life history traits and feeding ecology of the Tussock Skink, Pseudemoia pagenstecheri
Natasha L. Sullivan
Environment Australia, April 1999
- Populations trends, life history traits and feeding ecology of the Tussock Skink, Pseudemoia pagenstecheri (PDF - 357 KB)
About the report
This study investigated population trends, important life history patterns and the general ecology of the Tussock Skink, Pseudemoia pagenstecheri. The study was conducted at the former Albion Explosives factory site, an area which provides both remnant native and exotic-dominated grassland habitat. Tussock Skinks were collected using pit-fall trapping techniques and dietary analysis was performed by use of scat (faecal pellet) analysis.
Tussock Skinks demonstrated characteristics such as small body size, rapid growth rates, early reproductive maturity and high reproductive output, traits associated with 'r-selected' species in life history theory. Dietary preferences indicate that the species is a opportunistic arthopod feeder which utilises both surface active and sedentary prey. Spiders, crickets and bugs were common in the diet of the Tussock Skink.
There was a trend of declining capture rates of Tussock Skinks at the site. Given the threatened status of the habitat of Tussock Skinks in Western Victoria and the endangered status of other small Victorian grassland lizards, this trend is of concern. The Tussock Skink is currently considered locally common. However, the trend of decline observed in the Albion population indicates that the conservation status of the Tussock Skink may require review in the near future.