, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp 301–307 | Cite as

Resource utilization by two insular endemic mammalian carnivores, the island fox and island spotted skunk

  • Kevin R. Crooks
  • Dirk Van Vuren
Original Paper


We compared resource utilization of two insular endemic mammalian carnivores, the island spotted skunk and island fox, along niche dimensions of space, food, and time on Santa Cruz Island. We predicted that resource use by foxes and skunks would differ along one or more niche dimensions, and that both species would have broader niches or higher densities compared with mainland relatives. Island foxes and island spotted skunks differed to some extent in habitat use, diets, and circadian activity, which may account for their long-term coexistence. Nonetheless, substantial overlap between skunks and foxes in spatial, dietary, and temporal dimensions suggests that competition between the two species does occur. Moreover, competition may be asymmetric, affecting skunks more than foxes. Compared with mainland foxes, island foxes have smaller body size, smaller home range, increased population density, increased diurnal activity, and behavior that is more highly inquisitive and less flightprone all common features of insular faunas. Island skunks, however, apparently have not developed these changes, perhaps due to asymmetric competition with foxes in conjunction with severe ecosystem disturbances caused by feral sheep.

Key words

Carnivores Resource utilization Interspecific competition Insular ecology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin R. Crooks
    • 1
  • Dirk Van Vuren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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