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The association of tooth wear with sociality of free-ranging male koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus Goldfuss)

Murray Logan and Gordon D. Sanson

School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Vic. 3800, Australia.

 

Abstract

The sociality (as measured by the degree of bellowing and amount of tree use) of five adult male koalas and one sub-adult male koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), with varying degrees of tooth wear, were investigated using acoustically sensitive radio-telemetry. Initial increases in tooth wear that coincide with an increase in age to maturity were associated with an increase in reproductive effort. Advanced tooth wear was found to be associated with a decrease in reproductive effort. This trend in reproductive effort is consistent with life-history predictions, and suggests that tooth wear has the potential to impose limitations on the reproductive longevity and fecundity of free-ranging male koalas.