The effect of body size on co‐occurrence patterns within an African carnivore guild

Sander Vissia*, Frank Van Langevelde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Intraguild interactions among mammalian carnivores are important in shaping carnivore guild composition. Competing species may inhabit different areas and/or being active during different times to reduce the risk of aggressive interactions, but the role of body size in intraguild interactions within carnivore guilds remains largely unknown. We determined spatial and temporal co-occurrence of small, medium-sized and large carnivores of the carnivore guild in central Tuli, Botswana: lion Panthera leo, leopard Panthera pardus, spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta, brown hyena Parahyaena brunnea, black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas, bat-eared fox Otocyon megalotis, African wildcat Felis sylvestris lybica, African civet Civettictis civetta, honey badger Mellivora capensis and small-spotted genet Genetta genetta. We used camera trap data over a two-year period and quantified the degree of temporal and spatial overlap by comparing activity patterns and calculating Pianka's index respectively. Our results showed that temporal overlap in activity between all carnivore species was high, but complete overlap was possibly reduced by differences in peak activity periods. In addition, low to moderate levels of spatial overlap were found between the different carnivore species, supporting the idea that small carnivore species inhabit different areas than large species to reduce the risk of interference competition. Due to the possible strong competition amongst sympatric carnivores there is a need for more knowledge on co-existence patterns for successful management and conservation of carnivore species, for example when carnivore species are (re)introduced in an area.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01004
JournalWildlife Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


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