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Nocturnal light-specific temporal partitioning facilitates coexistence for a small mesopredator, the eastern spotted skunk

March 9, 2022

Eastern spotted skunks are of conservation concern where competition and predation are a possible cause of their decline. Using camera traps at a food subsidy, we investigated nocturnal temporal overlap of spotted skunks with co-occurring predators. Spotted skunks were more active during dark nights, when their activity overlapped with the largest predator (coyotes), but not with other mesopredators, thus possibly avoiding interspecific competition. Spotted skunk activity shifted during moonlit nights where overlap with all predators reduced, suggesting avoidance of both predators and competitors. This implies that both predation and interspecific competition could limit spotted skunk populations, and one mechanism they apply to coexist is nocturnal light-specific temporal partitioning.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Nocturnal light-specific temporal partitioning facilitates coexistence for a small mesopredator, the eastern spotted skunk
DOI 10.1007/s10164-021-00743-w
Authors Courtney J. Marneweck, Cameron R. Forehand, Charles D. Waggy, Stephen N. Harris, Todd E. Katzner, David S. Jachowski
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Ethology
Series Number
Index ID 70229475
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

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