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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 163–173 | Cite as

Selection of waterbirds by Geoffroy’s cat: Effects of prey abundance, size, and distance

  • A. D. CanepucciaEmail author
  • M. M. Martinez
  • A. I. Vassallo
Original investigation

Abstract

In spite of its wide distribution, Geoffroy’s cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi) has been recently upgraded from Least Concern IUCN category to Near Threatened because of lack of knowledge. In this study, we examine at the Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve (37° 46′S, 571° 27′W; Argentina) their seasonal diet, and their feeding pbl]Reference in relation to waterbird abundance, size, and distance of waterbird prey before attack. The diet, evaluated by feces analysis, was comprised of 42% waterbirds and 40% small mammals. The relative importance of waterbirds in the diet changed throughout the year associated with seasonal fluctuations in their availability. Predation on waterbirds increased from autumn to summer, while predation on small mammals decreased during this period. Trophic-niche breadth for prey occurrence was higher in autumn and lower in spring. We found that abundance, distance of waterbird prey before attack, and prey size were significant predictors of waterbird consumption by the Geoffroy’s cat. This small cat appears to change its kill rate in relation to waterbird abundance changes. The overconsumption of prey close to vegetation and big prey indicates selective predatory behavior by this cat.

Key words

Oncifelis geoffroyi food habits prey selectivity 

Selektion von Wasservögeln durch Geoffroys Katze: Auswirkungen von Abundanz, Größe und Abstand der Beute

Zusammenfassung

Trotz ihrer weiten Verbreitung ist Geoffroys Katze (Oncifelis geoffroyi) erst kürzlich aufgrund mangelnden Wissens zu einer bedrohten Art der IUCN Kategorie aufgewertet worden. In dieser Studie untersuchen wir saisonale Veränderungen in der Nahrung und Nahrungspräferenz der Katze in bezug auf Wasservogelabundanz und -größe, sowie des Angriffsabstands zur Beute im Biosphäreneservat Mar Chiquita (37° 46’tS, 57° 27’tW; Argentinien). Kotanalysen zeigten, dass die Nahrung zu 42% aus Wasservögeln und zu 41% aus kleineren Säugetieren besteht. Saisonale Schwankungen in der Verfügbarbeit von Wasservögeln schlagen sich in der Nahrung der Katze nieder. Die Bedeutung von Wasservögeln im Nahrungsspektrum steigt von Herbst bis Sommer an, einhergehend mit einer Abnahme des Prädationsdrucks auf kleinere Säugetiere. Die trophische Nischenbreite in der Beuteverfügbarkeit war höher im Herbst und geringer im Frühling. Die Abundanz, der Abstand zur Beute vor dem Angriff und die Beutegröße sind signifikante Faktoren, die die Konsumierungsrate von Wasservögeln durch Goeffroys Katze determinieren. Diese kleine Katze zeigt ein Beuteverhalten, das durch die Verfügbarkeit von Wasservögeln gesteuert wird. Der Mehrverbrauch an Beute, die sich nahe von Vegetation aufhält, weist auf einen selektiven Prädationsdruck durch Geoffroys Katze hin.

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. D. Canepuccia
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. M. Martinez
    • 1
  • A. I. Vassallo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (CONICET)Mar del PlataArgentina

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