Temporal overlap between two sympatric carnivores in northwestern Peru and southwestern Ecuador

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Alvaro García-Olaechea
Cindy M. Hurtado


The coexistence of sympatric species is determined by differences in their ecological niche.  Thus, for taxonomically and ecologically similar species to coexist, they must segregate in at least one of the three most important dimensions of the ecological niche: space, time or diet.  The Pampas Cat Leopardus colocola and the Sechuran Fox Lycalopex sechurae are sympatric species; and they are the most common medium-sized carnivores in the Sechura Desert and in the lowland seasonally dry tropical forest of Peru and Ecuador.  We evaluated the activity pattern of both mesocarnivores using camera trapping and temporal overlap analysis in both arid ecosystems.  We found a high degree of activity overlap and no statistically significant difference in the activity pattern of both species (Δ = 0.85 with 95% CI = 0.81 – 0.94; W = 0.531, SD = 2, P = 0.767), both being cathemeral.  There is, however, a contrasting pattern in the daytime activity of these species in the dry forest.  These results suggest that the different diet composition may be the main dimension that is facilitating the coexistence of both mesocarnivores in the arid ecosystems of northern Peru and southern Ecuador.

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Author Biographies

Alvaro García-Olaechea, Centro de Investigación Biodiversidad Sostenible, BioS. Av. San Martin 278, Urb, Clarke, Piura, Perú.

Alvaro García-Olaechea is a wildlife ecologist with a MSc degree in Ecology and Conservation from the Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Brazil. He has experience with camera trapping, collaring, and radio-tracking medium-sized mammals, as well in environmental education activities and nature photography. For his master thesis, he studied the influence of free-ranging dogs on the spatial and temporal patterns of native mesocarnivores in cacao agroforestry landscapes of the Atlantic Forest.

Cindy M. Hurtado, Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Av. Arenales 1256, Lima 14, Perú.

Cindy M. Hurtado is a PhD candidate at the Department of Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia. She got a MSc degree from Towson University. She has experience with camera trapping, collaring, and radio-tracking medium-sized mammals. For her PhD she is looking into the persistence and connectivity of carnivores in the fragmented Seasonal Dry Forest of Peru and Ecuador.


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