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22 November 2018 Intercanine width measurements to aid predation investigations: a comparison between sympatric native and non-native carnivores in the Mexican wolf recovery area
Tana Verzuh, David L. Bergman, Scott C. Bender, Maggie Dwire, Stewart W. Breck
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Abstract

Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) share their range with a number of sympatric carnivores, many of which are a concern to livestock producers because they can prey on livestock. Determining which predator species is responsible for killing livestock is important for determining appropriate management actions and for the conservation of Mexican wolves. A variety of information can be used to decipher which carnivore species was responsible for making a kill, and mandibular (upper) and maxillary (lower) intercanine width measurements (i.e., bite mark analysis) can aid this process. No research has been conducted to validate the usefulness of bite mark analysis; thus, we used dentition measurements from Mexican wolves, coyotes (Canis latrans), feral dogs (Canis familiaris), bobcats (Lynx rufus), mountain lions (Puma concolor), and gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and an overlap coefficient to evaluate the degree of overlap in intercanine width between these species. We found that larger carnivore species had greater overlap than smaller carnivores, feral dogs overlapped widely with all the medium-to-large carnivores, and upper and lower intercanine width measurements provided similar information. Our data indicated that when investigating livestock depredations for Mexican wolves, bite mark analyses should be evaluated along with additional forensic evidence due to the overlap between many of the carnivore species, and that measurements between 28 and 35 mm have the greatest uncertainty because this range overlaps with feral dogs, mountain lions, and coyotes.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of American Society of Mammalogists 2018. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
Tana Verzuh, David L. Bergman, Scott C. Bender, Maggie Dwire, and Stewart W. Breck "Intercanine width measurements to aid predation investigations: a comparison between sympatric native and non-native carnivores in the Mexican wolf recovery area," Journal of Mammalogy 99(6), 1405-1410, (22 November 2018). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyy145
Received: 17 January 2018; Accepted: 22 October 2018; Published: 22 November 2018
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KEYWORDS
coyotes
depredation
feral dogs
intercanine width
Mexican wolves
mountain lions
predation
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