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1 April 2009 Time Partitioning Favors the Coexistence of Sympatric Crab-Eating Foxes (Cerdocyon thous) and Pampas Foxes (Lycalopex gymnocercus)
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Crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous) and pampas foxes (Lycalopex gymnocercus) are very similar in body size and food habits, with distributional ranges that overlap extensively in South America. We used camera-trap records of both species obtained at the Iberá Nature Reserve (INR), northeastern Argentina, to test the hypothesis that, when living in sympatry, they reduce competition by using different habitats and by being active at different times. Camera-trap records obtained at 2 additional sites inhabited by only 1 of these species, the Atlantic Forest of Misiones (AF) and Lihué Calel National Park (LCNP), were used to determine the activity patterns of these foxes when living alone. At INR, we set 41 camera-trap stations in 2 habitats (shrubland forest and flooded grassland), and in 2 treatments per habitat (with or without cattle). Three stations also were set in gallery forests. We obtained 540 photographs of crab-eating foxes (289 records) and 175 photographs of pampas foxes (115 records) in 1,521 camera-trap days. At LCNP, 27 camera-trap stations (1,002 camera-trap days) provided 109 records of pampas foxes. At AF, 195 camera-trap stations (11,689 camera-trap days) provided 103 records of crab-eating foxes. At INR, crab-eating foxes were more frequently recorded in forest habitats, whereas pampas foxes preferred opened grasslands. However, both species were found in all habitats and their recording rates were not negatively correlated. At INR, crab-eating foxes were nocturnal, with peaks of activity after dusk and before dawn, a pattern similar to that observed at AF and elsewhere. At INR, pampas foxes showed a peak of activity between 0000 and 0400 h and another between 1000 and 1300 h, a pattern that differed from that observed at LCNP and other places, where the species is mostly nocturnal. At INR, pampas foxes reduced their activity at times when activity of presumably dominant crab-eating foxes was high, which may facilitate their coexistence.

Mario S. Di Bitetti, Yamil E. Di Blanco, Javier A. Pereira, Agustín Paviolo, and Ignacio Jiménez Pérez "Time Partitioning Favors the Coexistence of Sympatric Crab-Eating Foxes (Cerdocyon thous) and Pampas Foxes (Lycalopex gymnocercus)," Journal of Mammalogy 90(2), 479-490, (1 April 2009).
Accepted: 10 July 2008; Published: 1 April 2009

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