Survival and recolonisation following wildfire at Moyston West, Western Victoria. 2. Herpetofauna

Homan, Peter
February 2014
Victorian Naturalist;Feb2014, Vol. 131 Issue 1, p4
Academic Journal
Wildfire is a common occurrence in south-eastern Australia and affects fauna populations in various ways. In fragmented landscapes severe wildfire may lead to local extinction of some species; however, in other cases natural features such as cracks in the soil may provide refuges and the opportunity for some taxa to survive and recolonise surrounding areas. There is a lack of studies that provide both pre-wildfire and post-wildfire data on reptiles and amphibians especially at inland woodland sites. Data were collected to determine the presence and relative abundance of vertebrate fauna at a site near Moyston in Western Victoria on three occasions pre-wildfire and on seven occasions post-wildfire. Ten reptile and five amphibian species were recorded pre-wildfire, whilst 11 reptile and eight amphibian species were recorded post-wildfire. Bibron's Toadlet Pseudophryne bibronii, a species listed as threatened in Victoria, survived the wildfire in significant numbers in parts of the property severely burnt by wildfire. Several other species were recorded post-wildfire in sections of the property that were severely burnt. Numerous species appear to have survived the wildfire due to their ability to shelter underground, whilst others may have sheltered under large logs that were only partially burnt. Populations of other species may have survived due to a combination of breeding cycles, low metabolic rates and time of fire. At least one species of reptile may have recolonised the property from unburnt areas in neighbouring districts.


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