We investigated how white-nosed coatis (Nasua narica) cope with the extreme seasonality of a Mexican tropical dry forest by studying their activity, home ranges, and habitat selection in relation to climatic seasonality. From November 1994 to March 1997, we radiotracked 7 solitary adult males and 11 bands of females and juveniles. Males extended their activity more into night hours, were more active in both the dry and the wet seasons, and traveled a greater daily distance during the wet season than groups of coatis. Average total home range was 383.0 ha ± 32.86 SE and did not differ between sexes. Home ranges differed seasonally only in groups that used areas during the dry season that were twice as large as those used during the wet season. Three major habitats that differed in phenology were used by coatis. Both males and groups preferred arroyo forest to dry forest and semideciduous forests. These results illustrate the importance of behavioral traits that permit coatis to have access to habitats where sparse resources (e.g., food and water) are more available as a mechanism to cope with climatic seasonality. Our study provides a basis for design of management and conservation strategies for the Chamela–Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve. The population of coatis in this reserve may be considered as a model to predict the type of behavioral responses that other populations of coatis may use to cope with climatic seasonality in other tropical dry forests throughout México and Central America.
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