Species' activity patterns are driven by the need to meet basic requirements of food, social interactions, movement, and rest, but often are influenced by a variety of biotic and abiotic factors. We used camera-trap data to describe and compare the activity patterns of the relatively poorly studied tayra (Eira barbara) across 10 populations distributed from the south of Mexico to the north of Argentina, and attempted to identify biotic or abiotic factors that may be associated with variation in level of diurnality. In a subset of sites we also aimed to document potential seasonal variation in activity. We used a kernel density estimator based on the time of independent photographic events to calculate the proportion of diurnal, crepuscular, and nocturnal activity of each population. Tayras were mostly active during diurnal periods (79.31%, 759 records), with a lower proportion of crepuscular activity (18.07%, 173 records) yet we documented some variation in patterns across the 10 study areas (activity overlap coefficient varied from Δ4 = 0.64 to Δ1 = 0.95). In northern localities, activity peaked twice during the day (bimodal) with most activity ocurring in the morning, whereas closer to the geographical equator, activity was constant (unimodal) throughout the day, peaking at midday: activity either was unimodal or bimodal in southern localities. Despite investigating multiple potential abiotic and biotic predictors, only latitude was associated with variation in the proportion of diurnal activity by tayras across its range, with increased diurnal activity closer to the equator. Seasonal comparisons in activity showed a tendency to reduce diurnality in dry versus rainy seasons, but the pattern was not consistently significant. This is the most comprehensive description of tayra activity patterns to date, and lends novel insight into the potential flexibility of the species to adapt to local conditions.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3