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The Effects of Young in the Pouch On Pouch Cleaning in the Tammar Wallaby, Macropus Eugenii Desmarest (Marsupialia)

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image of Behaviour

The levels of grooming activities were measured in the marsupial Macropus eugenii for females without young in the pouch during the breeding season, and for females with young in the pouch at intervals throughout the pouch life (250 days) of the young. Grooming associated with the pouch was found to increase rapidly after parturition and also to change qualitatively as the young became older. The level of other grooming recorded did not change. Although 82% of pouch cleaning activities recorded occurred in close association with other grooming activities, there was no regular sequence of grooming and pouch cleaning activities, apart from the general association of grooming of different parts of the body - pouch, anterior surface, flank. The results are discussed in relation to the importance of stimulation from the young in the initiation and maintenance of maternal behaviour; the presence of the young is necessary for the maintenance of pouch cleaning.

Affiliations: 1: School of Zoology, University of New South Wales, Kensington, N.S.W., Australia


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