Zoological Studies

Vol. 54, 2015

Feeding interactions in an assemblage of terrestrial carnivores in central Mexico

Yuriana Gómez-Ortiz1, Octavio Monroy-Vilchis1,*, and Germán D Mendoza-Martínez2

1Estación Biológica Sierra Nanchititla, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Instituto Literario 100, Colonia Centro, Toluca, CP 50000, México
2Departamento de Producción Agrícola y Animal, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco, Calzada del Hueso 1100, Distrito Federal 04960, México

Background: We evaluated the strategies of resources partitioning among species, dietary overlap and niche breadth in an assemblage of carnivores integrated by top predators (Puma concolor and Panthera onca) and mesopredators (Leopardus pardalis, Leopardus wiedii, Puma yagouaroundi, Nasua narica and Urocyon cinereoargenteus). The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms explaining the coexistence among species at a temperate
zone in central Mexico.

Results: We collected 259 scats of carnivores and identified 45 food items. The analysis showed the common consumption of mammals in the assemblage, and the correspondence analysis showed three guilds: 1) top predators associated with the use of medium-sized mammals and the exclusive consumption of large mammals, 2) carnivore mesopredators associated with the consumption of small mammals and birds and 3) omnivore mesopredators associated with the consumption of arthropods and plants. The dietary overlap analysis indicated a low overlap between guilds and a high overlap within them. Top predators were specialist foragers, whilst the carnivore mesopredators showed generalist consumption.
Conclusions: The coexistence in this carnivore assemblage seems to be related to body size, morphology and prey segregation because such characteristics suggest the presence of three guilds. We observed high dietary overlap within guilds and resource partitioning between guilds.

Key words: Coexistence; Community; Niche breadth; Niche overlap; Trophic interactions.

*Correspondence: E-mail: tavomonroyvilchis@gmail.com