2 results for Purdey, D. C.

  • A simplified protocol for detecting two systemic bait markers (Rhodamine B and iophenoxic acid) in small mammals

    Purdey, D. C.; Petcu, M.; King, Carolyn M. (2003-09-01)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    We developed a method of quantifying levels of fluorescence in the whiskers of wild stoats (Mustela erminea) using fluorescence microscopy and Axiovision 3.0.6.1 software. The method allows for discrimination between natural fluorescence present in or on a whisker, and the fluorescence resulting from the ingestion of the systemic marker Rhodamine B (RB), although some visual judgement is still required. We also developed a new high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) protocol for detecting the systemic marker iophenoxic acid (IPA) in the blood of laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus) and wild stoats. With this method, the blood of an animal that has consumed IPA can be tested for the presence of the foreign IPA compound itself. This is a more reliable test than the previous method, which measured the raised level of natural blood protein-bound iodine correlated with IPA absorption. The quantity of blood required from animal subjects is very small (10 μl), so the testing is less intrusive and the method can be extended to smaller species. The extraction technique uses methanol, rather than acids and heavy metal salts, thereby simplifying the procedure. Recovery of IPA is quantitative, giving a highly reliable reading. In experiments on captive rats the IPA method proved successful. Of 12 positively marked carcasses, two that had not been frozen for the 24 h before blood samples were taken showed relatively lower IPA levels. The same IPA detection method, as well as the whisker analysis for RB, was applied successfully to a population of wild stoats to which both Rhodamine B and IPA were made available at bait stations. The presence of both bait markers was detectable in rats for at least 21 days and in stoats for at least 27 days.

    View record details
  • Age structure, dispersion and diet of a population of stoats (Mustela erminea) in southern Fiordland during the decline phase of the beechmast cycle

    Purdey, D. C.; King, Carolyn M.; Lawrence, B. (2004-09-01)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    The dispersion, age structure and diet of stoats (Mustela erminea) in beech forest in the Borland and Grebe Valleys, Fiordland National Park, were examined during December and January 2000/01, 20 months after a heavy seed-fall in 1999. Thirty trap stations were set along a 38-km transect through almost continuous beech forest, at least 1 km apart. Mice were very scarce (nights, C/100TN) along two standard index lines placed at either end of the transect, compared with November 1999 (>60/100TN), but mice were detected (from footprints in stoat tunnels) along an 8 km central section of the transect (stations 14-22). Live trapping with one trap per station (total 317.5 trap nights) in December 2000 caught 2 female and 23 male stoats, of which 10 (including both females) were radio collared. The minimum range lengths of the two females along the transect represented by the trap line were 2.2 and 6.0 km; those of eight radio-tracked males averaged 2.9 ± 1.7 km. Stations 14-22 tended to be visited more often, by more marked individual stoats, than the other 21 stations. Fenn trapping at the same 30 sites, but with multiple traps per station (1333.5 trap nights), in late January 2001 collected carcasses of 35 males and 28 females (including 12 of the marked live-trapped ones). Another two marked males were recovered dead. The stoat population showed no sign of chronic nutritional stress (average fat reserve index = 2.8 on a scale of 1-4 where 4 = highest fat content); and only one of 63 guts analysed was empty. Nevertheless, all 76 stoats handled were adults with 1-3 cementum annuli in their teeth, showing that reproduction had failed that season. Prey categories recorded in descending frequency of occurrence were birds, carabid beetle (ground beetle), weta, possum, rat, and mouse. The frequencies of occurrence of mice and birds in the diet of these stoats (10% and 48%, respectively) were quite different from those in stoats collected in Pig Creek, a tributary of the Borland River (87%, 5%), 12 months previously when mice were still abundant. Five of the six stoat guts containing mice were collected within 1 km of stations 14-22.

    View record details