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14 December 2021 The Determinants of Mesocarnivore Activity Patterns in Highveld Grassland and Riparian Habitats
Andrea B. Webster, Mariëtte E. Pretorius, Michael J. Somers
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Despite the diversity of mesocarnivores and the broad geographic ranges of these species, our understanding of their behaviour and ecology at multi-species and community levels is limited. Our study was conducted between April and mid-July 2015 and used data collected over 105 days from 39 camera traps to quantify activity patterns of sympatric mesocarnivores in riparian and grassland habitats of Telperion Nature Reserve, South Africa. A total of 13 mesocarnivore species were detected within this relatively small (∼7350 ha) reserve. Sufficient records (≥10 records) were obtained for rusty-spotted genet (Genetta maculata), black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), otter species (African clawless otter, Aonyx capensis, and spotted-necked otter, Hydrictis maculicollis), serval (Leptailurus serval ), slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea), yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata) and marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus). Generalized linear models were used to investigate whether species ID, temperature, vegetation characteristics or moon phase best predicted temporal activity. To assess which species had the highest potential for competitive interaction, we also quantified the coefficient of activity overlap. Our results show that species ID and temperature were the best predictors of mesocarnivore activity. Slender and yellow mongooses displayed the highest coefficient of activity overlap (0.90), followed by marsh mongoose and rusty-spotted genet (0.80), and serval and rusty-spotted genet (0.79). These species are likely to have the highest potential for competitive interactions, but preferences for different vegetation characteristics and variations in the estimated relative abundance may point to coexistence through spatial and fine-scale temporal partitioning. The other species exhibited lower coefficients of activity overlap with each other, suggesting they may coexist through temporal partitioning of resources.

Andrea B. Webster, Mariëtte E. Pretorius, and Michael J. Somers "The Determinants of Mesocarnivore Activity Patterns in Highveld Grassland and Riparian Habitats," African Journal of Wildlife Research 51(1), (14 December 2021).
Received: 29 August 2021; Accepted: 28 November 2021; Published: 14 December 2021
activity patterns
carnivore guild
small carnivores
species coexistence
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