Resource partitioning in a viverrid assemblage.
Maddock, Anthony Hamilton.
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Viverrids are small carnivores that achieve high species richness throughout their range. This study investigated the ecology and resource partitioning of five members of this family (Genetta tigrina, Herpestes ichneumon, Galerella sanguinea, Atilax paludinosus and Mungos mungo) that coexist in Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve on the south coast of Natal, South Africa. Emphasis was placed on differences and similarities within this assemblage. Diets of the viverrids were determined by scat analysis and prey abundance was revealed by means of a monthly trapping programme. The spatial ecology of the assemblage was assessed using radio-tracking and habitat utilisation was compared with habitat availability. The activity regimens of viverrids were also determined from radio-tracking. Consideration of all three major niche dimensions (food, habitat and time) revealed important differences within this assemblage. Each species used different resources, along at least one niche axis, from other members in the assemblage. Consequently, the three niche dimensions segregated all five species. These differences may reduce interactions and facilitate coexistence.