Journal of Zoology



Food habits of jaguars and pumas in Jalisco, Mexico


Rodrigo Núñez a1, Brian Miller a2c1 and Fred Lindzey a3
a1 Fundación Ecológica de Cuixmala, Apartado Postal 140, Melaque, Jalisco 48980, Mexico
a2 Conservation Biology, Denver Zoological Foundation, 2300 Steele St., Denver, CO 80205, U.S.A.
a3 USGS, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Box 3166 University Station, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 80272, U.S.A.

Abstract

Jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) are sympatric over much of their geographic range in Mexico and South and Central America. We investigated diets of these felids in and around the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve in western Jalisco, Mexico. Diets were determined from scat analyses and documentation of prey cadavers. Relative biomass of each prey species consumed by pumas and jaguars was estimated from analysing 65 puma and 50 jaguar scats collected from 1995 to 1998. Both jaguars and pumas fed mainly on mammals, with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) dominating the biomass of the diet of each species (54% and 66% respectively). There was a high degree of overlap between jaguar and puma diets, but pumas had a broader food niche than jaguars, and their ability to exploit smaller prey may give them an advantage over jaguars when faced with human-induced habitat changes.

(Accepted January 18 2000)


Key Words: Panthera onca; Puma concolor; diet; scat analysis; habitat; Mexico.

Correspondence:
c1 All correspondence to: Brian Miller. E-mail: zooconservation@denverzoo.org