Kin selection theory predicts that under certain conditions animals will tolerate related individuals in their home ranges. We examined the relationship between spatiotemporal overlap and genetic relatedness in ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) to determine if kin selection plays a role in structuring ocelot populations. We used 3 years of camera trapping to examine the spatial organization of an ocelot population on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. We also placed camera traps on ocelot latrines to match photographs of individual ocelots with microsatellite genotypes from feces. Strengths of spatiotemporal overlap between individual ocelots were calculated using a half-weight association index based on how often individuals were photographed at the same camera within 30 days of one another. We calculated relatedness between individuals based on 11 variable microsatellite loci. Male ocelots overlapped with ≤ 11 females, and females overlapped with ≤ 7 males. We detected no clear evidence of strict intersexual territoriality in either sex. Mean overlap among males was more than 5 times greater than overlap among females; however, spatiotemporal overlap was strong between some female pairs. Overall, overlapping individuals were more related to one another than was the sample population as a whole, consistent with the hypothesis that kin selection influences ocelot spatial organization. This finding was driven by relatedness among overlapping females, and by relatedness among overlapping individuals of opposite sex, but not by overlapping males.
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Vol. 96 • No. 1