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Niche separation between the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the crab-eating fox (Dusicyon thous) and the hoary fox (Dusicyon vetulus) in central Brazil

  • Anah Tereza de Almeida Jácomo (a1) (a2), Leandro Silveira (a1) (a2) and José Alexandre Felizola Diniz-Filho (a1) (a3)

Four species of canids occur in the Cerrado of central Brazil. Three of them, the maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus, the crab-eating fox Dusicyon thous and the hoary fox Dusicyon vetulus, were studied in Emas National Park between 1996 and 1999 to investigate niche separation. The diet of the three species was studied to understand niche breadth and degree of overlap. Habitat and activity patterns were used as second and third ecological parameters to define niche dimensions, and were estimated using camera-trap data. The maned wolf is the largest species, weighing c. 21 kg, and is about three times larger than the crab-eating fox and six times larger than the hoary fox. The major ecological differences between the three species were found in their food niche and habitat use, where crab-eating fox presented higher differences from the hoary fox (Pianka's index of niche overlap (O) = 0.405). Despite differences in niche breadth, habitat use between the hoary fox and the maned wolf were more similar, explaining their larger overlap, in comparison with habitat use by the crab-eating fox. Activity patterns among the species showed less divergence. The three species presented two activity peaks, one in the dusk–night period and another in the morning period. These data permit a better understanding of the ecological separation of the three Cerrado canids that enables their coexistence.

Corresponding author
All correspondence to: J. A. F. Diniz-Filho, Departamento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Cx. P. 131, 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brasil. E-mail:
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Journal of Zoology
  • ISSN: 0952-8369
  • EISSN: 1469-7998
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-zoology
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