Biological Study of Maltese Hedgehogs (subfamily-Erinaceinae) for Conservation  

Abstract Category: Science
Course / Degree: B.Sc. (Hons.)
Institution / University: University of Malta, Malta
Published in: 2000

Thesis Abstract / Summary:

In order to undertake long-term conservation management programmes for any organism and habitat, some knowledge must be known about the biology of the species and the habitat it needs for survival. No scientific detailed work has been carried out on hedgehogs in Malta prior to this study, thus it was considered necessary to obtain biological knowledge of this group for the legal protection to be backed with realistic conservation management possibilities.

From the 63 hedgehog individuals sampled in different localities in Malta two distinct colour forms (pale and dark) were found to show significant difference in the spine band sizes, demonstrating a clear distinction among the hedgehogs inhabiting Malta. To asses this distinction using another tool, the large toe or Hallux of 10 individuals were also measured but no statistical difference was obtained between the Hallux size of the two types of hedgehogs in Malta.

A study of hedgehog diet, habitat preference, distribution and abundance, sex ratio, body measures, seasonality in diet and behaviour and incidence of ectoparasities infestation were all considered in this research project.

Dietary studies indicated that the preferred item was beetles (Order Coleoptera). Hedgehogs were mostly found near agricultural areas. Hedgehog abundance at Ghajn Tuffieha was found to be around 0.64 per hectare. Ectoparasite infestation occurred mainly near urban areas.

A detailed questionnaire targeting Maltese farmers, hunters and bird watchers added valuable insights and information on Maltese Hedgehogs.

From hedgehog road casuality analysis undertaken in this research project, it became evident that more local awareness needs to be implemented in particular to areas with dense road concentration and close to areas with greater hedgehog abundance. Other aspects found to effect hedgehog survival include habitat degradation and extensive use of pesticides and insecticides

Thesis Keywords/Search Tags:
hedgehogs, conservation management

This Thesis Abstract may be cited as follows:
Borg, C. (2000), Biological Study of Maltese Hedgehogs (subfamily-Erinaceinae) for Conservation, Unpublished B.Sc. (Hons.) Dissertation, May 2000, Department of Biology, University of Malta.

Thesis Images:
Science - Biological Study of Maltese Hedgehogs (subfamily-Erinaceinae) for Conservation The Maltese Hedgehog
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Submission Details: Thesis Abstract submitted by Clifford Borg from Malta on 25-Sep-2003 10:07.
Abstract has been viewed 3122 times (since 7 Mar 2010).

Clifford Borg Contact Details: Email: info@cliffordborg.com

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