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1 December 2016 Preliminary Report: Initial explorations into the feeding ecology of the invasive small Indian mongoose in the Caribbean using stable isotope analyses
Pieter A. P. deHart, Karen E. Powers, Brenna A. Hyzy
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Abstract

The small Indian mongoose, Herpestes auropunctatus, was intentionally introduced throughout the tropics over the past 140 years. This pervasive omnivore continues to have an impact on the structure of food webs throughout the world, and may be exerting top-down controls to ecosystems on islands throughout the Caribbean. Critical examinations of mongoose diets are scarce; therefore, their trophic role is poorly understood. To preliminarily estimate the degree to which H. auropunctatus is exerting trophic control on the ecological processes of this region, we examined the stable isotopic signature (δ13C and δ15N) from the hair of mongoose trapped in southern St. John, United States Virgin Islands (USVI). Results suggest geographic differences in consumption by mongoose inhabiting similar localities. In addition, mongoose captured at the peninsular Yawzi Point show consumption differing among ages, with older individuals likely relying more heavily on marine-derived nutrients. This preliminarily suggests that the invasive mongoose may be differentially exerting pressure on native marine herpetofauna, and that this behavior may increase throughout the life of the predator. This is the first study to systematically examine mongoose in the Caribbean using stable isotopes, and so will hopefully serve as a springboard for additional isotopic studies of this invasive predator in order to fully elucidate its impact on native fauna throughout the Caribbean.

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Pieter A. P. deHart, Karen E. Powers, and Brenna A. Hyzy "Preliminary Report: Initial explorations into the feeding ecology of the invasive small Indian mongoose in the Caribbean using stable isotope analyses," BIOS 87(4), 155-162, (1 December 2016). https://doi.org/10.1893/BIOS-D-15-00011.1
Received: 10 September 2015; Accepted: 1 January 2016; Published: 1 December 2016
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