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Mastozoología neotropical

Print version ISSN 0327-9383

Abstract

LEMOS, Frederico Gemesio  and  FACURE, Kátia Gomes. Seasonal variation in foraging group size of crab-eating foxes and hoary foxes in the Cerrado Biome, Central Brazil. Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2011, vol.18, n.2, pp. 239-245. ISSN 0327-9383.

In regions with a pronounced dry season, such as the Cerrado Biome (Brazilian savannah), climate seasonality may affect food availability for canid species and, consequently, their foraging behavior. We investigated seasonal variation in foraging group size of crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous) and hoary foxes (Lycalopex vetulus) in the Cerrado region for three consecutive years. Data were obtained by direct observations of foraging foxes during spotlight surveys. Both species were sighted foraging individually or in pairs with or without their juvenile offspring. However, crab-eating foxes foraged in pairs more frequently in the wet season and individually more frequently in the dry season whereas hoary foxes foraged mostly individually throughout the year. The higher frequency of solitary foragers in the dry season is possibly a response to the seasonal shortages in the availability of clumped and locally abundant food resources such as fruit and insects, important items in the diet of the crab-eating fox during the wet season. The absence of seasonal variation in foraging group size of the hoary fox may be related to its specialized food habits, since termites predominate in the diet of this species in both seasons.

Keywords : Crab-eating fox; Direct counts; Hoary fox; Reproduction; Social behavior.

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