Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Continental patterns in the diet of an apex predator: Australia’s dingo (#200)

Tim Doherty 1 , Joe Benshemesh 2 , Naomi Davis 3 , Chris Dickman 4 , Dave Forsyth 5 , Jenny Lawrence 6 , Mike Letnic 7 , Lindy Lumsden 8 , Dale Nimmo 9 , Russell Palmer 10 , Charlie Pascoe 11 , Euan Ritchie 1 , Andy Sharp 12 , Dani Stokeld 13 , Mark Venosta 14 , Mike Wysong 15 , Tom Newsome 1 4
  1. Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia
  2. La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
  3. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  4. University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  5. Department of Primary Industries, NSW, Australia
  6. Parks Victoria, Heyfield, Australia
  7. University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  8. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Heidelberg, VIC, Australia
  9. Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia
  10. Department of Parks and Wildlife, Woodvale, WA, Australia
  11. Parks Victoria, Bright, Australia
  12. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, SA, Australia
  13. Department of Land Resource Management, NT, Australia
  14. Biosis, Melbourne, Australia
  15. University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia

Restoration of large carnivore populations, such as dingoes, is controversial as these animals can prey on livestock and threatened species. Developing an in-depth understanding of dingo dietary preferences across Australia’s bioclimatic zones may assist restoration proposals, especially if this helps to predict the types of impacts dingoes could exert on prey species and ecological processes such as bioturbation, herbivory and predation. Using 73 published and unpublished data sets, we examined bioclimatic variation in dingo diet across Australia, and focus here on the arid interior and temperate south-east of the continent. Dingoes consume at least 188, mostly mammalian, vertebrate species. Consumption of arthropods, birds and reptiles was highest in the arid and semi-arid regions, and lowest in the temperate south-east. Consumption of introduced rabbits was highest in the arid zone, and consumption of medium-sized mammals (0.5–6.9 kg) was highest in the temperate south-east. Dietary diversity was higher in the arid zone than in the temperate south-east. We use our results to describe dingo dietary patterns at the continental scale and discuss conservation and management implications.