Spatial Co-Occurrence and Activity Patterns of Mesocarnivores in the Temperate Forests of Southwest China

Author(s):

Bu, Hongliang; Fang Wang; William J. McShea; Zhi Lu; Dajun Wang; and Sheng Li.

Journal or Book Title: PloS one

Volume/Issue: 11(10)

Page Number(s): e0164271

Year Published: 2016

Abstract:

Understanding the interactions between species and their coexistence mechanisms will help explain biodiversity maintenance and enable managers to make sound conservation decisions. Mesocarnivores are abundant and diverse mid-sized carnivores and can have profound impacts on the function, structure and dynamics of ecosystem after the extirpation of apex predators in many ecosystems. The moist temperate forests of Southwest China harbor a diverse community of mesocarnivores in the absence of apex predators. Sympat- ric species tend to partition limited resources along time, diet and space to facilitate coexis- tence. We determined the spatial and temporal patterns for five species of mesocarnivores. We used detection histories from a large camera-trap dataset collected from 2004–2015 with an extensive effort of 23,313 camera-days from 495 camera locations. The five meso- carnivore species included masked palm civet Paguma larvata, leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis, hog badger Arctonyx collaris, yellow-throated marten Martes flavigula, and Siberian weasel Mustela sibirica. Only the masked palm civet and hog badger tended to avoid each other; while for other pairs of species, they occurred independently of each other, or no clear pattern observed. With regard to seasonal activity, yellow-throated mar- ten was most active in winter, opposite the pattern observed for masked palm civet, leopard cat and hog badger. For diel activity, masked palm civet, leopard cat and hog badger were primarily nocturnal and crepuscular; yellow-throated marten was diurnal, and Siberian wea- sel had no clear pattern for most of the year (March to November), but was nocturnal in the winter (December to February). The seasonal shift of the Siberian weasel may be due to the high diet overlap among species in winter. Our results provided new facts and insights into this unique community of mesocarnivores of southwest China, and will facilitate future studies on the mechanism determining coexistence of animal species within complex system.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164271

Type of Publication: Journal Article

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