Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Differential nocturnal and circumlunar movement patterns suggests temporal partitioning between coyotes and bobcats in east Texas (#406)

Haemish I Melville 1
  1. University of South Africa, Florida, Gauteng, South Africa

Sympatric mesopredators, such as coyotes and bobcats in east Texas, rely on a similar spectrum of biotic and abiotic resources. There is a high degree of intraguild competition for those resources and particularly for prey. To persist under these circumstances it is necessary for sympatric mesopredators to mitigate competitive interactions. Species’ responses to abiotic environmental factors may influence activity patterns. Temporal segregation between species may facilitate a reduction in competition. Using movement data from 10 bobcats and 10 coyotes, which I fitted with GPS collars programmed to record hourly locations throughout the night, I compared nocturnal movements by bobcats and coyotes relative to abiotic environmental and lunar cycle variables. Coyote and bobcat movements differed relative to crepuscularity, the presence of lunar illumination, and night portion. Coyote movements were influenced by crepuscularity while bobcat movements were not. Coyote movements were significantly greater when lunar light was available, while bobcat movements were unaffected by the presence of lunar light. Coyote movements peaked in the middle of the night while bobcat movements were bimodal, peaking in the evening and the morning before and after the coyote activity peak. It therefore seems plausible that differential responses to lunar light and the temporal partitioning of activity may partially mitigate the effects of competition for resources and facilitate sympatry between these mesopredators in the Pineywoods of east Texas.