Total energy budget and prey requirements of free-ranging coyotes in the Great Basin Desert of the western United States

Instituto de Ecologı́a, A.C., Centro Regional Durango, km 5 carr. Durango-Mazatlan, 34100 Durango, Dgo, Mexico
Journal of Arid Environments (Impact Factor: 1.64). 12/2003; 55(4):675-689. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-1963(02)00316-6


Estimates of energetic demands for carnivore species can be valuable for estimating their annual prey requirements and thus, their potential impact on prey populations. This is the case for the coyote (Canis latrans) which has a ubiquitous distribution and preys on a wide variety of wild and domestic prey species. We took data on daily activity of coyotes and with standard energy models, estimated the daily field metabolic rate (FMR) of adult male and female coyotes in the Great Basin desert of the western United States. We then calculated the total annual energy demand and from this, extrapolated annual prey needs for lagomorph and rodent-sized prey. Daily FMR of male coyotes in the Great Basin desert averaged 1170.1 kcal±29.1, S.E. (n=11) and was significantly higher than 988.6 kcal±44.3 (n=8) for females (p=0.002). The highest reproductive cost for females was lactation (1441.1 kcal/day above FMR). Males and females need to consume 192 and 162 lagomorphs, or 3681 and 3110 rodents/year, respectively. For reproduction, females should consume 37 more lagomorphs or 700 more rodents per year. We concluded that preference for lagomorphs by coyotes reflects the most reasonable energy return on their hunting investment.

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    • "Unlike the 3 previous threats, which are mostly or exclusively diurnal threats, predation by mammalian carnivores (e.g., bobcats [Lynx rufus] or coyotes [Canis latrans]), occurs during both diurnal and nocturnal or crepuscular hours (Laundré and Hernández 2003, Donovan et al. 2011). "

    Full-text · Conference Paper · Feb 2015
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    • "(MacCracken y Hansen , 1987; Hernández et al., 2002). El consumo de una liebre (Lepus californicus) provee a un coyote la energía suficiente para dos días, lo que equivaldría a consumir 9 o 10 roedores diarios (Laundré y Hernández, 2003), representando así una estrategia de alimentación óptima (Hernández et al., 2002). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2014
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    • "Within the framework of risk and use, a coyote has to make its foraging decisions. Because of the high energy return on their predation investment (Laundré and Hernández 2003b), optimally, coyotes should and do select lagomorphs as their main prey (Niebauer and Rongstad 1977, Patterson et al. 1998,O'Donoghue et al. 1998, Bartel and Knowlton 2005). In the Chihuahuan Desert, the main lagomorph species used by coyotes is the black-tailed jackrabbit (Hernández et al. 2002, Martínez Caldera 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Under predation risk, prey species are more abundant in areas of low predation risk even at the expense of forage quality. As a result two predictions are possible, 1) predators should choose to hunt in areas with fewer but easier to catch prey than areas where they are more abundant but harder to catch; and 2) the frequency of prey species in the diet of predators using low risk areas should be greater than, or at least equal to, the diet of predators using high risk areas. To test these two predictions, we used data on coyote Canis latrans abundance and diet composition from two habitats in the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico that have different abundances of jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) and rodents. We used the number of coyote scats found in transects in the two areas to assess coyote abundance and analyzed the contents of these scats to determine diet composition. We found significantly more coyote scats/yr (22.6 ± 4.7 (SE) vs. 12.2 ± 2.4 scats/yr, d.f. = 7, paired t = 3.80, P = 0.007) in the habitat with less jackrabbits and more rodents. However, the percent occurrence of jackrabbits (54.3 ± 6.7% vs. 60.1 ± 7.7%) and rodents (32.6 ± 6.5% vs. 30.1 ± 6.0%) in coyote scats did not differ between the two habitats. These results supported both the above cited predictions and the hypothesis that prey vulnerability can influence habitat use by coyotes.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · The Open Ecology Journal
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