Encounter competition between a cougar, puma concolor, and a western spotted skunk, spilogale gracilis

Maximilian L. Allen, L. Mark Elbroch, Heiko U. Wittme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Encounter competition occurs frequently over food resources and may include kleptoparasitism, where scavengers usurp prey killed by carnivores. Scavenging may have important adverse effects on carnivores and may result in higher than expected kill rates by predators. Using camera traps placed on a black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) carcass killed by a Cougar (Puma concolor) in California, we observed a series of encounters in which a Western Spotted Skunk (Spilogale gracilis) temporally usurped the carcass from the Cougar. the Western Spotted Skunk also successfully defended the carcass when the Cougar returned and attempted to feed. the Spotted Skunk was about 1% of the mass of the Cougar. our observation is the largest reported size differential of a mammalian species engaging in successful encounter competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-66
Number of pages3
JournalCanadian Field-Naturalist
Volume127
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • California
  • Competition
  • Cougar
  • Encounter competition
  • Kleptoparasitism
  • Mountain lion
  • Puma concolor
  • Spilogale gracilis
  • Western spotted skunk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Encounter competition between a cougar, puma concolor, and a western spotted skunk, spilogale gracilis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this