We present the 1st data on the diet of the Andean mountain cat (Leopardus jacobitus), and the 1st on the colocolo (Leopardus colocolo) and the culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus) in high-altitude deserts of northern Argentina, based on fecal analysis. Feces of Andean mountain cats and colocolos were distinguished by DNA analysis. The Andean mountain cat (n = 57) was the most specialized, relying heavily on southern mountain vizcachas (Lagidium viscacia). The colocolo (n = 504) also was specialized, consuming mostly cricetine rodents and tuco-tucos (Ctenomys). The culpeo (n = 399) was a generalist, consuming all prey items that the cats used, and a greater variety of invertebrates. Short-tailed chinchillas (Chinchilla chinchilla) were found in 3 culpeo feces, indicating that this rodent, considered extinct in Argentina, is still present in the wild. Both southern mountain vizcachas and tuco-tucos have a patchy distribution, indicating that very large areas may be required to support populations of the cats that depend on these prey species.
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