DE ANGELO Carlos Daniel
Niche partitioning and species coexistence in a Neotropical felid assemblage
DI BITETTI, MARIO; DE ANGELO, CARLOS; DI BLANCO, YAMIL; PAVIOLO, AGUSTÍN
ACTA OECOLOGICA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY
Año: 2010 vol. 36 p. 403 - 403
Carnivores have been used as a model to understand the effects of competition in community structure. Behavioral mechanisms that facilitate species coexistence have been poorly explored and may explain the lack of community-wide morphological character displacement in some carnivore assemblages. We use the results of large scale and intensive camera trap surveys conducted in the Atlantic Forest of NE Argentina between 2003 and 2008 to describe the spatial patterns of detection and the daily pattern of records of the six wild cat species present in the region (jaguar Panthera onca, puma Puma concolor, ocelot Leopardus pardalis, jaguarundi Puma yagouaroundi, margay Leopardus wiedii, and oncilla Leopardus tigrinus). We use these patterns to generate hypotheses about behavioral differences that may facilitate species coexistence. The larger species were more frequently recorded in the better protected areas, probably as a result of anthropogenic effects (poaching of cats and their prey). Competitive release from ocelots and jaguarundis may explain why the oncilla and the margay showed the opposite pattern. Morphologically similar species had the most contrasting activity patterns: the margay was exclusively nocturnal and the jaguarundi diurnal. The other species were cathemeral, but alternated their peaks of activity in relation to the relative order of their body weights. The contrasting temporal patterns observed and the ability of pumas and oncillas to adjust their activity patterns to local conditions may facilitate the coexistence of these cat species and explain the lack of character displacement in this assemblage.