We studied the feeding behaviors of two sympatric species of caimans (Melanosuchus niger and Caiman crocodilus) during the dry season in the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazonas State, Brazil. Observations were made in 50 × 13 m plots located along the land-water interface. We investigated the influence of interspecific density and the effects of temperature and water depth on the feeding behaviors of both species. We identified three principal categories of feeding behavior: trapping (with the body perpendicular to the shore, the caiman captures prey swimming close to the shore), active search (with the head under the water, the caiman searches for benthic prey), and jumping (leaping partially out of the water and capturing fish or other under water invertebrates prey). Using multiple linear regression, we found that water temperature had a negative effect on trapping by M. niger; and water depth did not affect feeding behaviors in either species. Density of M. niger did not affect either the density or the frequency of feeding by C. crocodilus. Results suggest that environmental factors have little influence on the feeding behaviors of the caimans we studied, and there is probably little interspecific competition for food during the dry season.
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