Print version ISSN 0327-9383
COURTALON, Paula et al. Evaluation of population parameters of coypu Myocastor coypus (Rodentia, Myocastoridae) during and outside the authorised hunting season in the floodplain of the Paraná River, Argentina. Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2011, vol.18, n.2, pp. 217-225. ISSN 0327-9383.
We studied a Myocastor coypus (Molina, 1782) population during the authorised hunting season (AHS) and outside the hunting season (OHS) in the floodplain of the Paraná River (Argentina), a representative area for this species within its original geographic range. The aims of this work were to describe and compare fluctuations in population parameters (relative abundance, sex ratio, age structure) and in the physical condition between these two periods. Additionally, we discussed the possible occurrence of simultaneous influence of environmental factors (particularly the hydroperiod) and hunting pressure on these parameters. The absolute density during the AHS was 2.78 individuals/ha. No differences in the trapping success index were found between AHS and OHS. Throughout the study period the sex ratio remained 1:1. Adults predominated at the beginning of the AHS. There was no predominance of any age class during the OHS. The physical condition index (PCI) decreased during the AHS for both sexes, while in OHS only for females increased in December. No differences were found in the PCI between AHS and OHS for both sexes. The hydroperiod of the Paraná River showed a decrease during AHS and more stable but lower values during OHS. We hypothesise that these results could be related to a compensatory favourable effect of the habitat conditions (particularly the hydrological regime) over the negative effect of hunting pressure.
Keywords : Argentina; Hunting pressure; Myocastor coypus; Paraná River Delta; Population ecology.