NOVARO andres Jose
First records of culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus) attacks and cooperative defense by guanacos (Lama guanicoe)
NOVARO, A. J.; MORAGA, C.; BRICEÑO, C.; FUNES, M. C.; MARINO, A.
WALTER DE GRUYTER & CO
Año: 2009 vol. 73 p. 148 - 150
The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) is an intermediate-sized (100-120 kg), highly polygynous, social ungulate of western and southern South America. The only predator on guanacos that has been reported so far is the puma (Puma concolor, 62 kg). Puma predation may have significant behavioural and demographic consequences for guanacos. Their behavioral response to attacks by pumas is flight, accompanied by frequent alarm calls, as expected considering the main anti-predator benefits of social groups, dilution and early detection. In addition, puma predation may prevent or slow the recovery of some low-density guanaco populations. The only guanaco population entirely free from puma predation today is on the island of Tierra del Fuego. The only native terrestrial predator in Tierra del Fuego is the culpeo fox (Lycalopex culpaeus lycoides), which weighs up to 12 kg and coexists with pumas and guanacos through most of the latters range in South America. There are no published records of culpeo attacks on guanacos and studies of culpeo diets that have encountered guanaco remains have assumed that guanacos were consumed as carrion. Culpeos, like most canids, but unlike pumas, are cursorial predators that instead of stalking their prey rely on pursuing and exhausting it to be able to catch it. Here we report for the first time two types of observations: two attacks by culpeos on young guanacos and cooperative defense by a guanaco group in Tierra del Fuego.