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Trophic and spatio-temporal niche of the crab-eating fox, Cerdocyon thous (Linnaeus, 1766) (Carnivora: Canidae), in a remnant of the Caatinga in northeastern Brazil

Douglas de Matos Dias and Adriana Bocchiglieri
From the journal Mammalia

Abstract

Cerdocyon thous is widely distributed in South America and occurs throughout most of Brazil. However, little is known of its ecology in the semi-arid Caatinga biome, and this study aimed to characterise the ecological niche of the species in Sergipe, in the northeastern extreme of the country. The study was conducted over a period of 13 months, at the Grota do Angico Natural Monument (2138 ha), with monthly campaigns of 6 days in arboreal-shrubby caatinga, riparian forest, and grota (humid gallery forest). Sand plots and camera traps were used to collect records of the species, and faecal samples were collected whenever found during the monitoring of the plots. A total of 407 records of C. thous were obtained, with 308 in the plots and 99 in the traps. The species occurred throughout the entire study area, with no significant variation being found in the use of habitat (p=0.1123). The monthly records were not randomly distributed (p=0.009), being concentrated between November and June, although no clear seasonal pattern was identified (p=0.383). The diet was classified as omnivorous, with a predominance of arthropods and fruit. Activity was primarily nocturnal, with no records being collected between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) through a postgraduate stipend to DMD. We are especially grateful to Cenap/ICMBio and the Neotropical Grassland Conservancy. SEMARH/SE (licence #032.000-01117/2012-4) and PPEC/UFS provided logistical support. We also thank J.O. Dantas and A.S. Ferreira for their help with the identification of invertebrates and lizards, respectively. We are also grateful to anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on the first version of the manuscript, and T.S. França and S.F. Ferrari for the English revision.

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Received: 2014-8-2
Accepted: 2015-4-1
Published Online: 2015-5-12
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

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