Kin selection theory predicts that under certain conditions animals will tolerate related individuals in their home ranges. We examined the relationship between spatiotemporal overlap and genetic relatedness in ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) to determine if kin selection plays a role in structuring ocelot populations. We used 3 years of camera trapping to examine the spatial organization of an ocelot population on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, and we placed camera traps on ocelot latrines to match photographs of individual ocelots with microsatellite genotypes from feces. Male ocelots overlapped with ≤ 11 females, and females overlapped with ≤ 7 males. We detected no clear evidence of strict intersexual territoriality in either sex. Mean overlap among males was > 5 times more than overlap among females; however, spatiotemporal overlap was strong between some female pairs. Overall, overlapping individuals were more related to one another than was the sample population as a whole, consistent with the hypothesis that kin selection influences ocelot spatial organization. Additionally, we compared estimates of ocelot population density from noninvasive genetics with density estimates from camera trapping. Density estimates from the 2 techniques were highly comparable (1.74/km2 from noninvasive genetics and 1.56/km2 from camera trapping). These estimates represent the highest reported ocelot density within the species range. This research was supported by a Grant-In-Aid of Research awarded to Torrey Rodgers in 2012 and 2013.
|Published - 2015