Australia and Tasmania were once inhabited by many large predatory marsupials. The Tessinian lion, for example, was at the forefront, that is Thylacoleo – A large carnivorous animal the size of a tiger. The last large carnivorous marsupial to be wiped out in modern times was the Tasmanian wolf, also known as the thylacine. It was a marsupial that looked like a cross between a wolf, a sable, and a tiger. It died at the Hobart Zoo in 1936, and the species was declared extinct in the wild in 1986.
What remains is the Tasmanian Devil, which once lived in the shadow of the wolf and perhaps fed on the remains of its feasts. It is now the island's main predator, although it was once viewed as a scavenger. However, the Tasmanian devil is not alone – it belongs to the terrapin family, which includes more carnivorous marsupials. Most members of this group hunt small prey, for example, smaller marsupials, rodents, invertebrates, and frogs. This is done, for example, by the desert coy, the spectacled squirrel monkey, the common rat monkey and others. The largest predator in this group is a very distinctive spotted animal called the spotted hawk And its relatives, such as the great eagle, the eucalyptus vulture, and others.
The spotted marten is sometimes called the Tasmanian marten. He acts the same way with her. It can climb trees and hunt birds, frogs and invertebrates. It can also hunt small marsupials, wombats or small rabbits. It is not as famous and predatory as the Tasmanian devil, but it is also a nocturnal Tasmanian hunter. On many levels, it competes with the Tasmanian devil for food.
It seems that since the competing resident, the Tasmanian devil, is in trouble, the spotted squirrel will benefit. But this is not the issue. The results of research published in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” indicate this The decrease in the number of demons directly affects the demons, but not in the way we expect.
Tasmanian devils in particular are being decimated by a contagious cancer called DFBT, or devil facial tumor disease. The devil's mouth cancer was discovered in 1996, and over the next decade, the disease devastated the population of this predator. The number has decreased by about 70 percent, from 53,000 of these animals in 1996 to only 17,000 in 2020. Animals transmit this viral disease through bites, because when they feed on meat, the demons usually fight with each other, establishing a hierarchy. And bite each other. The cancer disfigures the animal's snout, creating tumors and growths made of living flesh. The animal suffers from pain and cannot eat with such a deformed muzzle. He is dying of hunger.
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Australia had to implement a special rescue program for devils. Breeding centers have been established in Tasmania, and in 2020, some of the animals in the controversial project were released on mainland Australia.
The aim of the research in Tasmania was to investigate how fluctuations in the population of Tasmanian devils affect spotted hawks. They showed that roe deer were genetically selected in response to changes in devil populations and identified 12 genetic variants associated with the current situation. These genes include those important for movement and muscle development, as well as some genes associated with eating behavior.
In other words, cockroaches are less likely to transfer appropriate genes between individual groups and populations. This may be due to gAlthough there are few Tasmanian devils, their competitors do not have to move much to avoid encountering them. The opportunity to meet animals from different populations is diminished. “Less genetic exchange between populations will ultimately lead to less genetic diversity within populations,” says Andrew Storfer, an evolutionary geneticist at Washington State University in Pullman. “This has evolutionary consequences.”
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