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A survey of the terrestrial vertebrates of coastal Byron Shire

Milledge, David
The Australian zoologist 1991 v.27 no.3-4 pp. 66-91
amphibians, autumn, biogeography, birds, coastal plains, extinction, fauna, food availability, frugivores, habitats, indigenous species, insectivores, land use, migratory behavior, plant communities, reptiles, rodents, spring, summer, surveys, vegetation, wildlife management, winter, New South Wales
An eight-month survey of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna of coastal Byron Shim produced records of 15 species of amphibians, 19 species of reptiles, 182 species of birds and 23 species of mammals. These results, together with records from other sources, show the area has a rich and diverse vertebrate fauna with only reptiles not well represented Vertebrate communities were characterized by species typical of low, dense vegetation formations The area's richness is partly the result of its position at the centre of the Macleay-McPherson overlap zone where the Torresian and Bassian faunas meet Did differences were established between the vertebrate communities of vegetation growing on the low-lying, low-nutrient sands of the coastal plain (Wallum) and those of vegetation on elevated, higher nutrient meta-sediments. Past intensive land use in the south of the survey area may have caused the local extinction of one native rodent and its niche appears to have been partly filled by two other native species. No associations were found between plant structural and floristic diversity and vertebrate diversity at survey sites and results probably reflected the availability of food resources at the time of the survey. Bid communities were characterized by two migratory groups, one present during autumn and winter and the other during spring and summer. The results highlighted the importance of the coastal habitats of northern New South Wales in providing autumn and winter food resources for migratory and nomadic nectivorous and frugivorous bids and fruit-bats, and insectivorous bids. This function together with the 41 endangered and other significant vertebrate species present, and the area's biogeographical significance, make coastal Byron Shire of regional, state and national significance for wildlife conservation.