This material has been published in the journal Mammalian Biology (2011, 76: 320-324), the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by the publishers.

Jaguar and puma activity patterns in relation to their main prey

Bart J. Harmsen, Rebecca J. Foster, Scott C. Silver, Linde E. T. Ostro, and C. Patrick Doncaster

Activity patterns of top predators are adapted for efficient predation, whereas their prey must contend with the conflicting demands of acquiring resources and avoiding predators. Here we analyse the activity of jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) in relation to their most important prey species, armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) and pacas (Agouti paca) respectively, in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize using large-scale camera-trap data. Jaguars and pumas have similar 24h activity patterns as armadillos and pacas, both burrow-dwelling species, and negligible overlap with less frequently consumed prey species such as red brocket deer (Mazama americana) and peccaries. Activity of armadillos and pacas varied with moon phase, with reduced activity during periods of brighter illumination, perhaps as a predator-avoidance strategy. Across the study area, moon phase had no overall influence on jaguar and puma activity; however at locations associated with armadillos, jaguar activity declined with brighter illumination, perhaps indicating a shift to alternative prey during full moon when armadillos avoided foraging above ground. No such relationship was found for pumas and moon phase at locations associated with pacas.

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