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Spatial segregation between red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), European wildcats (Felis silvestris) and Domestic Cats (Felis catus) in Pastures in a Livestock Area of Northern Spain

AuthorsRodr�guez, Alejandro; Urra, Ferm�n; Jubete, Fernando; Rom�n, Jacinto; Revilla, Eloy CSIC ORCID ; Palomares, Francisco CSIC ORCID
KeywordsSpatial segregation
Domestic cat
European wildcat
Red fox
Intraguild competition
Pasture selection
Issue Date2020
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationDiversity 12: 1- 17 (2020)
AbstractRed foxes, European wildcats and domestic cats share cattle pastures for hunting in La Pernia Valley, northern Spain. To understand the mechanisms that allow the coexistence of these mesopredators in a habitat characterized by its anthropogenic modifications, we recorded sightings of these species in pastures in the summers of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. We tested if the species preferred specific areas of pastures and if they exhibited any spatial segregation in the use of pastures. Red foxes did not show consistent preferences for any area of the pastures. European wildcats preferred pasture areas closer to streams and forest edges, whereas domestic cats preferred areas closer to buildings and paved roads whilst avoiding forest edges. All species pairs showed strong spatial segregation with less than 7% overlap. We hypothesize that spatial segregation is the mechanism used by European wildcats and domestic cats to avoid dangerous interactions with other predators and which characterizes their preference of specific areas on pastures, using areas near places that may protect them from other predators. Ultimately, the influence of fox presence (and probably that of other larger potential predators) on the use of pastures by European wildcats and domestic cats is decreasing the number of interactions between them and may help to prevent hybridization in this area.
Publisher version (URL)
Identifiersdoi: 10.3390/d12070268
issn:: 1424-2818
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos

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