and Epacridaceae families.However,
spp.and trigger plants(
) also occurfrequently in habitat areas (Cockburn 1995;Lee 1995; Ford 1998b).
During summer the Smoky Mouse foragesfor seeds from legume shrubs, fruits of epacrid species, flowers and invertebrates,including Bogong Moths. In winter andspring, when seeds are less abundant, theyinclude a higher proportion of hypogeal(truffle-like) fungi in the diet (Cockburn1995; Ford 1998a). It has been suggested thatthe species is dependent on post-firesuccession for survival (Cockburn 1995) asthe development of the heathy vegetation isstrongly influenced by fire frequency andintensity (Menkhorst 1995). However, itappears to be associated more commonly withrelatively stable and diverse heathcommunities, rather than areas that haveundergone recent or frequent disturbance(Cockburn 1979; Broome
. in prep.). Afire frequency of once in 20 years is sufficientto regenerate shrub species characteristic of the Smoky Mouse habitat (P. Catling, M.Austin, CSIRO pers. comm.). The preferredbreeding habitat seems to be characterisedby a high diversity of seed-bearing legumesand fruiting epacrids, with relatively deep,friable, sandy soils and good cover providedby rocks or vegetation (Cockburn 1983; Ford1998a).Breeding commences in spring withfemales producing one or two litters,each of three to four young (Cockburn1995; Ford 1998a). Older animalsbreed slightly earlier than younger onesand females often live to breed more thanone season (Cockburn 1995). Recentevidence shows that they nestcommunally, potentially increasing theirvulnerability to predation. Nestingburrows have been found in rockylocalities among tree roots and underthe skirts of
spp. (Ford1998a, b; Broome
. in prep.).
(summarised from Lee 1995; Broome
. in prep.; Ford 1998a, b; Smith 1995)
Loss of habitat through clearing, loggingand associated activities
Inappropriate fire regimes, as too frequentburning, eg. 4-7 years for hazard reduction,is likely to be deleterious to the shrub andhypogeal fungi resource
Predation by cats, foxes and dogsparticularly if forestry or roading reducescover and increases predator activity
Cattle and rabbit grazing resulting in thereduction of food resources and the depletionin shrub cover
(summarised from Broome
Further survey for the species, specificallyin areas of potential habitat
Protection and maintenance of known orpotential habitat, including theimplementation of protection zones
Introduced predator control programme,targeting known high quality habitat andrecently disturbed potential habitat
Prescribed burning and grazing regimes
which ensure the enhancement andmaintenance of floristic and structuraldiversity of the ground cover
Smoky Mouse habitatLinda Broome/NPWS
NSW NPWS is preparing a recovery planfor this species.