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Ecological Separation within Newly Sympatric Populations of Coyotes and Bobcats in South-Central Florida

Daniel H. Thornton, Melvin E. Sunquist and Martin B. Main
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 85, No. 5 (Oct., 2004), pp. 973-982
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1383828
Page Count: 10
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Ecological Separation within Newly Sympatric Populations of Coyotes and Bobcats in South-Central Florida
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Abstract

The coyote (Canis latrans) has recently expanded its geographic range into Florida, and the impacts of this range expansion of Florida ecosystems are likely to be complex. An area of particular concern is the effect on native carnivores. From May 2001 to May 2002, we investigated the ecological relationships between the coyote and bobcat (Lynx rufus) in south-central Florida to determine how they partition space, habitat, time, and food. Ecological separation was facilitated by dietary differences. Coyotes preyed primarily upon large ungulates and consumed substantial quantities of fruit, whereas bobcats primarily consumed rodents and lagomorphs. Coyotes and bobcats displayed similar habitat selection and activity patterns, and their high interspecific overlap in home ranges indicated a lack of large-scale spatial segregation. However, at the finer scale of core areas, patterns of spatial segregation were present. The lack of evidence for negative interactions at our study site suggests that non-overlapping core areas reduces agonistic encounters between the 2 species.

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