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Jaguar mobbing by giant otter groups

Abstract

Group-living in carnivores is mostly associated with cooperative hunting and anti-predator defense. Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) live in monogamous and cooperative breeding groups, where mechanisms other than cooperative foraging may be driving group maintenance in the species. We herein describe three interactions between giant otters and jaguars (Panthera onca) observed in the wild, two of which involved groups of otters and one, a lone individual. In the two group instances, the otters mobbed the jaguar until it left the area. The mobbing behavior displayed in these instances likely reinforces the advantages of living in groups, reducing predation risk and promoting group cohesion, with resulting territorial and fitness benefits.

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Acknowledgments

We are indebted to Lawrence Wahba and Bossa Nova Films for providing us image documentation for one of the cases described. We also thank the Tocantins Nature Institute (Naturatins), the environmental agency for the state of Tocantins, for authorizing the study in the Cantão State Park (license no. 7460–2013), and for logistic support. We thank George Schaller and Allison Devlin for their useful suggestions on a draft manuscript.

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Correspondence to Caroline Leuchtenberger.

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Leuchtenberger, C., Almeida, S.B., Andriolo, A. et al. Jaguar mobbing by giant otter groups. acta ethol 19, 143–146 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10211-016-0233-4

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Keywords

  • Panthera onca
  • Pteronura brasiliensis
  • Anti-predator defense
  • Group defense
  • Sociality