Small mammal selection and functional response in the diet of the maned wolf, Chrysocyon brachyurus (Mammalia: Canidae), In southeast Brazil


Data reported here are intended to describe patterns of predation by a solitary hunter, as well as to bring new insights into the predator-prey relationship in the Neotropical region. The goal of this study was to verify if there was small mammal selection in the diet of the maned wolf. Also, we attempt to test for a functional response in relation to the consumption of small mammals. The study was carried out in the Ecological Station of Itirapina (ESI), São Paulo, Brazil. Faeces collection and small mammal abundance survey by pitfall trapping were conducted simultaneously during 2000–2002. The maned wolf was selective in the consumption of small mammals. Calomys tener and Oligoryzomys nigripes (Muridae) were consumed less than expected by chance, whereas Clyomys bishopi (Echimyidae) was preyed on more than expected. We did not detect a clear functional response by this canid in the ESI to overall shifts in abundance of small mammals. However, prey switching was detected by an increase in diet diversity in the wet season when small mammals become less available.