Editor’s Choice March/April 2022Submitted by editor on 2 March 2022. Get the paper!
The editor’s choice is the article by Vissia et al. The effect of body size on co-occurrence patterns within an African carnivore guild
Your dog cannot help chasing cats? Typical carnivore habit! Carnivore species tend to avoid, if not kill each other. The strength of carnivore intraguild interactions has been suggested to primarily depend on the differences in body size, with larger species dominating over smaller ones. Interspecific interactions have been widely studied in carnivores. Coexistence may be facilitated by spatial and temporal avoidance among species; however, this has rarely been assessed for extensive carnivore guilds with multiple species. Vissia et al. describe spatial and temporal co-occurrence patterns of ten small, medium-sized and large species within the African carnivore guild based on a camera trap survey in Botswana. Their results document high temporal overlap in the activity among all ten carnivore species, However, low to moderate levels of spatial overlap among species indicate that small carnivores reduced the risk of interference competition by avoiding areas used by larger species. The findings of Vissia at al. support recent pleas for guild- and community-level approaches to carnivore conservation: taking into consideration interspecific interactions may significantly improve management effectiveness, for example when carnivore species are reintroduced in an area.