, Volume 191, Issue 3, pp 531–540 | Cite as

Spatial partitioning by a subordinate carnivore is mediated by conspecific overlap

  • C. MarneweckEmail author
  • D. G. Marneweck
  • O. L. van Schalkwyk
  • G. Beverley
  • H. T. Davies-Mostert
  • D. M. Parker
Behavioral ecology – original research


There are several hypotheses that could explain territory size in mammals, including the resource dispersion hypothesis (RDH), the intruder pressure hypothesis (IPH), and the intraguild predation hypothesis (IGPH). In this study, we tested predictions of these three hypotheses regarding territories of 19 packs of endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) over 2 years in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. If territory size was supported by the RDH, then we would observe (1) wild dog territories would be larger when resource patches were more dispersed, (2) pack sizes would be larger when resource patches were rich, and (3) pack size would not affect territory size. If supported by the IPH, then we would observe (4) larger territories would experience less intrusions, and (5) there would be an increase in territory overlap in areas of low resource dispersion. Finally, if supported by the IGPH, we would observe (6) territories would be larger in areas of higher lion (Panthera leo) density, as evidence of a spatial avoidance strategy. We found that the IGPH was fully supported (6), the IPH half supported (5), and the RDH partially supported (1 and 3), where we found spatial partitioning of wild dogs with lions, potentially mediated by resources and territory overlap with conspecifics. Ultimately, our results show that subordinate carnivores must balance a trade-off between dominant interspecific competitors and conspecifics to successfully coexist in areas with dominant carnivores.


African wild dog Intraguild predation Intruder pressure Resource richness Resource dispersion Territory overlap Territory size 



We thank South African National Parks (SANParks) honorary rangers and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) for sponsoring the tracking collars, and the technical staff from SANParks Veterinary Wildlife Services, State Veterinary Services, and the EWT Carnivore Conservation Programme for assistance in collaring the wild dogs, and maintain active collars over the duration of this study. We also thank SANParks for the supporting data regarding lions and impalas.

Author contribution statement

CM and DGM originally formulated the idea, GB and OLS conducted field work, CM and OLS analysed the data; all authors contributed to writing the manuscript (CM, DGM, OLS, GB, HDM, DP).

Supplementary material

442_2019_4512_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1107 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biology and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MpumalangaMbombelaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Eugène Marais Chair of Wildlife Management, Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and EntomologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Endangered Wildlife TrustJohannesburgSouth Africa
  4. 4.State Veterinarian, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesGovernment of South AfricaSkukuzaSouth Africa
  5. 5.Wildlife and Reserve Management Research Group, Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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