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Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment


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Food habits of the ocelot, Leopardus pardalis, in two areas in southeast Brazil
Rita de Cassia Bianchi , Srgio Lucena Mendes & Paulo De Marco Jnior
a a a b

Departamento de Cincias Biolgicas, Universidade Federal do Esprito Santo, Vitria, Brazil


b

Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Gois, Goiania, Brazil

Available online: 10 Dec 2010

To cite this article: Rita de Cassia Bianchi, Srgio Lucena Mendes & Paulo De Marco Jnior (2010): Food habits of the ocelot, Leopardus pardalis, in two areas in southeast Brazil, Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 45:3, 111-119 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01650521.2010.514791

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Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment Vol. 45, No. 3, December 2010, 111119

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
NNFE

Food habits of the ocelot, Leopardus pardalis, in two areas in southeast Brazil
Rita de Cassia Bianchia*, Srgio Lucena Mendesa & Paulo De Marco Jniorb
Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment

aDepartamento de Cincias Biolgicas, Universidade Federal do Esprito Santo, Vitria, Brazil; bDepartamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Gois, Goiania, Brazil

(Received 18 January 2010; accepted 4 August 2010) The objective of this study was to compare the diet of the ocelot at two sites in southeastern Brazil: the small (957 ha), isolated Caratinga Biological Station (CBS), Minas Gerais and the large (>44,000 ha) contiguous area, comprised of the Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve (VRDNR) and the Sooretama Biological Reserve (SBR). We collected 60 scats in CBS from January 1997 to July 2000. Small rodents, small marsupials and primates were the most important items in terms of frequency of occurrence. In terms of biomass consumed, the brown howler monkey (Alouatta guariba) was the most important item. In the VRDNR/SBR we collected 77 scats from April 1995 to September 1996 and from January 1999 to September 2000. The main food items were armadillo (Dasypus sp.), small rodents, teju (Tupinambis merianae), and small marsupials. In VRDNR/SBR the ocelot had a more diverse diet, probably reflecting the diversity of prey species found in this area. The occurrence of ocelots in CBS indicates the adaptive flexibility of this felid to forests fragments, probably facilitated by the high biomass of potential prey in this case, the primate Alouatta guariba. Keywords: diet; Felidae; Atlantic Forest; Leopardus pardalis; ocelot; Brazil

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Introduction The ocelot, Leopardus pardalis (Linnaeus, 1758), is one of eight species of felids that occur in Brazil. It is found from extreme southern Texas to southern Brazil and northern Argentina. It is a mid-sized carnivore (815 kg) with a solitary and territorial lifestyle (Ludlow & Sunquist 1987). Although legally protected, ocelot populations continue to be threatened by deforestation, fragmentation, and consequent genetic isolation (Oliveira 1994; Oliveira & Bianchi 2008), especially in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, where there has been a loss of about 92% of the original vegetation (Evoluo... 1993). As a carnivore, the ocelot may be more directly affected by fragmentation and habitat loss, since it putatively needs large areas of use. Thus, there are few Brazilian conservation areas which effectively protect populations of this species (Redford & Robinson 1991; Oliveira 1994). Studies on the diet of ocelots are more common than those about other Neotropical felids. However, information about its diet is incomplete for most of its distribution (Mondolfi 1986; Emmons 1987; Ludlow & Sunquist 1987; Konecny 1989; Sunquist et al. 1989; Crawshaw 1995; Chinchilla 1997; Moreno et al. 2006; Bianchi & Mendes 2007), or is based on non-standardized data collection (Bisbal 1986; Facure & Giaretta 1996; Ximenez 1982). In the Brazilian

Atlantic Forest, the ocelot was studied in detail only in Foz do Iguau, Paran (Crawshaw 1995). This paucity of information limits understanding the influence of habitat fragmentation on ocelots. Small mammals were the main items consumed in all previous locations studied, and these were consumed according to their local abundance (Bisbal 1986; Emmons 1987; Ludlow & Sunquist 1987). Forest fragmentation could affect prey abundance. We examined the diet of ocelots in a large intact forest and a small forest fragment, so as to identify their primary prey in each area and compare any differences in their diet. Materials and methods Study sites The Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve (VRDNR) includes 21,800 ha and is contiguous to the Sooretama Biological Reserve (SBR), of 24,150 ha, which is administered by the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA). Both conservation units constitute the largest remaining forest patch in the state of Esprito Santo and are considered here as a single study area (1903S, 4005W). Climate is tropical hot and humid, with an average annual precipitation of 1.051 mm and an average annual temperature of 23C. The predominant vegetation is tropical rain forest of the Tertiary tablelands (Mata de Tabuleiros), which is

*Corresponding author. Email: rc_bianchi@yahoo.com.br


ISSN 0165-0521 print/ISSN 1744-5140 online 2010 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/01650521.2010.514791 http://www.informaworld.com

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R. C. Bianchi et al. Museum (Santa Teresa, Esprito Santo State), through analysis of the guard-hair microstructure (Quadros 2002), or by consulting a specialist. We analyzed the importance of each kind of prey based on its frequency (proportion of a prey item in relation to the total number of items, in percent) and as the frequency of occurrence in the scats (proportion of scats that contained a particular prey type, in percent) (Crawshaw 1995). For estimating the number of vertebrate taxa used in the diet, we used a Jackknife procedure (Colwell & Coddington 1994), which corrects for sub-sampling bias, allowing estimation of confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. We evaluated Jackknife using the EstimateS program (Colwell 1997), which also produced a collector curve from the output of the Jackknife analysis. We applied Chi-square tests (Zar 1999) to frequencies of occurrence of taxa in relation to a given site. To correct for differences in size and weight of prey in the diet, we estimated biomass consumed for each taxon. Average weight of each prey was multiplied by the number of individuals found (evaluated biomass = preys average weight number of individuals in the scats). We considered the presence of an item as a single individual except in the case of teeth, where the minimum number of individuals was estimated from the number of teeth found in the sample. The relative importance of each prey is expressed as a percentage in relation to the weight of all the items (Crawshaw 1995). We obtained the estimated weight of prey taxa from the literature (Fonseca et al. 1996; Emmons & Feer 1997) or from data on species deposited in the collection of the Prof. Mello Leito Biology Museum. Biomass for prey larger than 10 kg (Brachyteles hypoxanthus, Mazama sp. and Pecari tajacu) was estimated as 30% of adult mass. The nomenclature of the mammals followed Wilson & Reeder (2005) and Emmons et al. (2002).

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a semi-deciduous, mesophytic forest formation of the Atlantic forest domain. The original vegetation of the VRDNR is typically forest (Vicens et al. 1998). The vegetation at SBR also consists primarily of forest, though swampy vegetation is found at the edges of rivers and streams. The mammal fauna of the VRDNR/SBR is nearly intact, including jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), margay (L. wiedii), oncilla (L. tigrinus), and jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi), as well as other carnivores, such as otter (Lontra longicaudis), crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus), coati (Nasua nasua), and kinkajou (Potos flavus) (Chiarello 1999). Caratinga Biological Station (CBS) (1950S, 4150W, 957 ha), Minas Gerais, Brazil, is a Private Reserve of Natural Patrimony (Fonseca 1989; Castro 2001). Vegetation fits the low-montane Atlantic pluvial forest, with characteristics of semi-deciduous to deciduous forests. Climate, based on Kppens classification, is tropical sub-hot mild humid (AW), with an average temperature of 16.5C in the coldest month (July) and 23.9C in the hottest month (February). The dry season presents 132.8 mm of precipitation, whereas the wet season presents 839.2 mm (Ferrari 1988). The reserve is surrounded mainly by pasture. There is no information on the population of ocelots or any other carnivorous mammal in the region, although many species have been seen by researches in the study area, such as C. thous and L. wiedii; likewise, several scat samples of domestic dogs have been collected. Data collection and analysis We determined the diet from fecal samples opportunistically collected along roads and trails. Field collection occurred monthly from April 1995 to September 1996 and from January 1999 to September 2000 at VRDNR/SBR; and in the period from January 1997 to September 2000 at CBS. Because large prey (such as paca or monkey) can be consumed by an ocelot in several meals and result in several scats, fecal samples collected in the same day and containing the same large prey were not considered independent feeding events, thereby ensuring independence of samples. Scats were identified as being from ocelots based on track presence near them, as well as the presence of ocelot hairs that were likely ingested during selfgrooming. The hairs were identified through cuticle and medullar patterns (Quadros 2002). The scats were oven dried and washed on a sieve. The screened material (e.g. hair, teeth, and scales) was identified by comparison with the material deposited at the Zoological Collection of Prof. Mello Leito Biology

Results Diet at Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve/Sooretama Biological Reserve Analyses of 77 ocelot scats collected in VRDNR/SBR indicated 37 taxa and 148 vertebrate prey items. Mammals were the most frequent items, occurring in 96% of the scats, followed by the Squamata (21%) and birds (7%) (Table 1). Among the mammals, rodents were most frequently consumed order with 59.5% of occurrence in the scats and representing 31.1% of the total of the items, followed by Edentata and Didelphimorphia with 29.9 and 15.6% of occurrence in the scats; and 15.6 and 8.12% of the items consumed, respectively. The most important prey

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Table 1. Spectrum and frequency of food items found in fecal samples of ocelots at Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve/ Sooretama Biological Reserve, ES (VRDNR/SBR) and at Caratinga Biological Station, MG (CBS).
VRDNR/SBR (n = 77) Mass (g) Frequency of occurrence (%) 59.46 14.29 10.39 10.39 5.19 3.90 2.60 2.60 2.60 2.60 1.30 1.30 1.30 1.30 15.58 9.09 2.60 1.30 1.30 1.30 5.19 2.60 2.60 29.87 29.87 9.09 5.19 3.90 6.49 3.90 1.30 1.30 5.19 5.19 7.79 12.99 12.99 40.26 16.88 7.79 5.19 2.60 2.60 2.60 1.30 1.30 15.58 16.88 Frequency (%) 31.10 7.43 5.41 5.41 2.70 2.03 1.35 1.35 1.35 1.35 0.68 0.68 0.68 0.68 8.12 4.73 1.35 0.68 0.68 0.68 2.70 1.35 1.35 15.54 15.54 4.73 2.70 2.03 3.39 2.03 0.68 0.68 2.70 2.70 4.05 6.76 6.76 20.94 8.78 4.05 2.70 1.35 1.35 1.35 0.68 0.68 100 CBS (n = 60) Frequency of occurrence (%) 86.68 5.00 10.00 26.67 1.67 1.67 1.67 3.33 16.67 8.33 6.67 5.00 33.34 10.00 6.67 10.00 6.67 26.67 1.67 20.00 5.00 11.67 11.67 5.00 5.00 3.33 25.00 25.00 15.01 1.67 6.67 3.33 1.67 1.67 18.33 33.33 Frequency (%) 41.94 2.42 4.84 12.90 0.81 0.81 0.81 1.61 8.06 4.03 3.23 2.42 16.14 4.84 3.23 4.84 3.23 12.91 0.81 9.68 2.42 5.65 5.65 2.42 2.42 1.61 12.10 12.10 7.27 0.81 3.23 1.61 0.81 0.81 100

Item Rodentia Cuniculus paca Dasyprocta leporina Rodentia n.i. Calomys sp. Phyllomys sp. Cavia sp. Mus musculus Trinomys sp. Sigmodontinae n.i. Oryzomyinae n.i. Guerlinguetus ingrami Sphiggurus sp. Rattus rattus Necromys sp. Oligoryzomys sp. Akodon sp. Didelphimorphia Didelphidae n.i. Marmosa murina Didelphis aurita Metachirus nudicaudatus Monodelphis domestica Monodelphis americana Gracilinanus sp. Primates Callicebus personatus Cebus apella Alouatta guariba Brachyteles hypoxanthus Edentata Dasypus sp. Artiodactyla Pecari tajacu Mazama sp. Carnivora Procyon cancrivorus Eira barbara Potos flavus Lagomorpha Sylvilagus brasiliensis Mammalia n.i. Aves Aves n.i. Squamata Tupinambis merianae Ophidia n.i. Tropidurus gr. torquatus Polychrus marmoratus Lacertilia n.i. Colubridae n.i. Ameiva ameiva Mabuya cf. agilis Teiidae n.i. Invertebrates Plants Total number of itemsb Total number of taxab

N 46 11 8 8 4 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 12 7 2 1 1 1 4 2 2 23 23 7 4 3 5 3 1 1 4 4 6 10 10 31 13 6 4 2 2 2 1 1 12 13 148 37

N 52 3 6 16 1 1 1 2 10 5 4 3 20 6 4 6 4 16 1 12 3 7 7 3 3 2 15 15 9 1 4 2 1 1 11 20 124 27

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8200 2100 50 25 260 400 15 180 5 80 200 1100 200 35 50 53 100 52 1000 280 67 30 30 1350 2500 5700 4000a 2200 5700a 5000a 5400 4850 2600 1000 50 1500 89 94 97 9

Mass (g) = weight of prey; N = number of items; frequency of occurrence = proportion of scats in which the respective item occurred; frequency = proportion of the total number of items; n.i., not identified. a The weight was considered as 30% of the weight of an adult individual. b Without invertebrates and plant items.

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40
Proportion (%)

30 20 10 0
Didelphimorphia Sphiggurus Artiodactyla Tupinambis Cuniculus paca Small rodents Dasyprocta Squamata Sylvilagus Carnivora Primates Dasypus

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Biomass

Frequency

Figure 1. Comparison of the proportions (%) of biomass and frequency of prey items found in ocelot scats (n = 77) at Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve and Sooretama Biological Reserve, ES.

types in terms of occurrence frequency were Dasypus sp. (armadillo) which occurred in 30% of the scats, followed by Tupinambis merianae (teju), which occurred in 17% of scats. Large mammals also occurred in the diet, including deer (Mazama sp.), peccary (Pecari tajacu) and other carnivore species (Eira barbara, Potus flavus, and Procyon cancrivorus). In terms of biomass consumed, the most important items in the ocelots diet at VRDNR/SBR were Cuniculus paca, Dasypus sp. and Artiodactyla (Figure 1). Although the frequency of occurrence of these in the scats was only 9%, together these taxa accounted for approximately 70% of biomass consumed. Small rodents and squamates contributed relatively little to the biomass consumed by ocelots in VRDNR/SBR. Diet at Caratinga Biological Station Analyses of 60 ocelot scats collected from CBS indicated 27 taxa and 124 vertebrate prey items. Mammals were the most frequent items, occurring in 100% of the scats, followed by birds (25%) and Squamata (15%) (Table 1). Among the mammals, rodents were the most frequently found, with 86% of the occurrence in the scats and 42% of all items, followed by Didelphimorphia and Primates with 33 and 27% of occurrence in the scats, and 16 and 13% of the total of the consumed items, respectively. Among the rodents,

the most important taxon was Calomys sp., occurring in 26.7% of the scats and in 13% of the total of the items. Among the primates, Alouatta guariba (brown howler monkey) occurred in 20% of the scats and 9% of the total items consumed (Table 1). In terms of biomass consumed, primates were the most important items, especially A. guariba, followed by C. paca and by small rodents (Figure 2). Cross-site comparisons The number of the taxa occurring in ocelot scats at VRDNR/SBR as assessed by the Jackknife procedure (51.8; CI = 52.651.1) was about 50% larger than at CBS (34.9; CI = 35.534.2). These results differed statistically (P < 0.05) (Figure 3). At both sites ocelots fed predominately on a few prey types only. Small rodents, small marsupials and A. guariba were consumed significantly more frequently at CBS, while Dasypus sp. and T. merianae were consumed significantly more frequently at VRDNR/SBR (Table 2). In terms of biomass, rodents contributed most to the diet of ocelots at VRDNR/SBR and Primates at CBS (Figure 4). In terms of the frequency of occurrence in scats, Rodentia, Didelphimorphia and Primates were most consumed at CBS, while Edentata, Carnivora and Artiodactyla were most consumed at VRDNR/SBR, although in both areas, Rodentia was the order occurring in most scats (Table 2).

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50 40
Proportion (%)

30 20 10 0
Primates Small rodents Cuniculus paca Didelphimorphia Sylvilagus Sphiggurus Squamata
70 80

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Biomass

Dasypus

Frequency

Figure 2. Comparison of the proportions (%) of biomass and frequency of prey items found in ocelot scats (n = 60) at Caratinga Biological Station, MG.

60 50
Number of food items

VRDNR/SBR CBS

40 30 20 10 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Number of samples

Figure 3. Cumulative number of food items ( SD) detected in fecal samples of ocelot at Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve and Sooretama Biological Reserve, ES and Caratinga Biological Station, MG, evaluated by Jackknife procedure.

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R. C. Bianchi et al. ocelots at VRDNR/SBR concentrated on just a few taxa, such as armadillos, rodents and lizards. In the context of Ropers definition (1994), the ocelot is not a specialized carnivore since it feeds on a great number of species, preying by chance on the most abundant and vulnerable, such as Dasypus sp. and T. merianae. This feeding behavior was also observed in Peru (Emmons 1987), Venezuela (Ludlow & Sunquist 1987), Costa Rica (Chinchilla 1997), and Foz do Iguau (Crawshaw 1995). In that study, Crawshaw (1995) detected also a great importance of Dasypus sp., T. merianae, and small rodents in the diet. The National Park of Foz do Iguau (175,000 ha) comprises a mammalian fauna as diverse as that found at VRDNR/SBR, where rodents and Dasypus sp. were the most frequent prey in the diet of the ocelot. In the Peruvian Amazon and in Venezuela, rodents were also the most important item (Bisbal 1986; Emmons 1987; Ludlow & Sunquist 1987). In all the locations, small mammals (<1 kg) were the main items consumed according to their abundance in the area. Although Ludlow & Sunquist (1987) considered ocelots as a carnivore specialized on small prey, we found a different result, since the most important prey in terms of consumed biomass were armadillos,

Table 2. Differences in the frequency of occurrence of the main items and taxa found in ocelot scats at Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve/Sooretama Biological Reserve, ES (VRDNR/SBR) and at Caratinga Biological Station, MG (CBS).
Items/taxa Small rodents Rodentia Small marsupials Alouatta guariba Primates Dasypus sp. Tupinambis merianae Lagomorpha Carnivora Artiodactyla
a

VRDNR/ SBR (%) 30.26 59.46 15.58 0.00 5.19 29.87 16.88 5.19 6.49 9.00

CBS (%) 61.67 86.68 33.34 20.00 26.67 11.67 1.67 5.00 0.00 0.00

c2 13.412 4.853 4.802 16.670 12.246 6.744 8.654 0.005 4.098 5.826

P <0.00a 0.02a 0.028a <0.001a <0.00a 0.009a <0.00a 0.945 0.042a 0.015a

Significant to 5%.

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Discussion Diet at Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve/Sooretama Biological Reserve and CBS Despite including a great variety of items in its diet, which reflects the richness of species in the area,

60 50
Biomass (%)

40 30 20 10 0
Didelphimorphia Lagomorpha Artiodactyla Carnivora Primates Edentata Rodentia

VRDNR/SBR

CBS

Figure 4. Comparison of the proportional biomass (%) of taxa detected in scats of ocelots at Vale do Rio Doce Natural Reserve and Sooretama Biological Reserve (VRDNR/SBR), ES and Caratinga Biological Station (CBS), MG.

Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment pacas, agoutis and adult tejus at VRDNR/SBR and primates at CBS. In Foz do Iguau, the most important prey in terms of consumed biomass were nine-banded armadillos (Crawshaw 1995). Crawshaw argued that large prey (Mazama sp. and other large species) were consumed as carrion, since they are sometimes killed by cars in the park and thus might become an important alternative food source for ocelots. Notwithstanding, predation on large prey has been attributed to ocelot, primarily large males (Moreno et al. 2006). Estimates of consumed biomass provide a better criterion to indicate the most important prey than frequency, but the difficulty to determine the prey individuals age and sex in order to correct the assumed body mass can generate large differences in terms of weight. Ocelots prey on other carnivores, as has been documented in other sites, such as Foz do Iguau, where they fed on P. cancrivorus, C. thous, and Galictis cuja; Peru, where they fed on Bassaricyon alleni; and Panama, where they preyed on Procyon sp. and Nasua narica. However, such consumption is considered circumstantial (Emmons 1987; Crawshaw 1995; Moreno et al. 2006). The importance of A. guariba in the diet of ocelots at CBS (see Bianchi & Mendes 2007) is evidenced by both the high frequency of consumption and the biomass of this primate. In this site, the total primate biomass consumed by ocelots was equivalent to most of the biomass of all other prey items together. We have no knowledge of any other study in which primates were consumed by ocelots with such a high frequency. A similar situation was observed in the Panama Canal zone, where a surprisingly high number of sloths and other arboreal prey was found in the diet of ocelots, given that they have been considered predominantly terrestrial hunters (Moreno et al. 2006). The high consumption of the brown howler monkey in CBS may be related to the high densities of this prey species and its relative vulnerability. Population density estimates of brown howler monkey in CBS are 0.91.4 individuals/ha (Hirsch 1995). Brown howler monkeys in CBS are found in groups of about six individuals (typically one male, two or three females, and cubs) and they have young all year round (Strier et al. 2001). Their main defense strategy is to take refuge in secluded places in the foliage and to perform agonistic vocalization (Mendes 1989). While resting, they stay at a height of 1520 m, but they use all strata (020 m) for feeding purposes, and frequently come to the ground for drinking (personal observations). Nevertheless, we cannot discard the possibility that the predation on brown howler monkeys was an isolated event, performed by a single

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individual, despite the fact that its consumption was continuous, for almost 3 years, and relatively evenly distributed within the years. Isbell (1990) observed a sudden short-term increase in mortality of vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) due to leopard predation in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Isbell (1990) argued that this may have been due to an increase in the presence of the predator and an individual preference for particular prey species, perhaps as a result of earlier experience with that prey (Caro 1980). Cross-site comparisons We observed a significant difference in the use of prey types in the two areas, probably reflecting differences in resource availability. The high consumption of small rodents at CBS can be related to the great abundance of this group in the area. Fonseca & Robinson (1990) found a greater abundance of rodents in CBS than in two other areas, one of 70 ha, and another of 36,000 ha. Forty-six percent of the rodents observed in the scats at CBS belonged to only three species (Calomys, Necromys, and Akodon) adapted to open and disturbed areas. This may be a consequence of forest fragmentation. Fragment edge is proportionally greater as the fragment size decreases, enabling the dominance of species of open or disturbed areas in a larger proportion of area in small fragments, than in the large ones (Pardini 2001). Additionally, predators such as ocelots will spend proportionately greater time in edges as fragment size decreases, resulting in the taking of more edge-dominant prey. The lower consumption of small rodents and small marsupials at VRDNR/SBR can also be associated to the abundance of energetically more rewarding resources, such as paca, agouti, armadillo, and teju. These results suggest that ocelots always maintain a set of predominant items, which represent the greatest part of its diet, but opportunistically increase the number of rare items that are used where the fauna is richer, such as at VRDNR/SBR. Indeed, the diversity of prey types at VRDNR/SBR was such that we detected species which had not been previously recorded from the site with the use of traps (Palma 1996) or through visual censuses (Chiarello 1999). Thus, the analysis of felid scats and perhaps those of other carnivores can be an important complementary tool in the survey of the fauna, particularly of species which occur at low densities (Camardella et al. 2000). Home ranges of ocelots vary from 1.2 to 31.2 km2 (Navarro 1985; Tewes 1986; Ludlow & Sunquist 1987; Emmons 1988; Konecny 1989; Crawshaw & Quigley 1989; Sunquist et al. 1989; Laack 1991; Bianchi 2009). As such, the total area of the CBS

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(9.6 km2) is seemingly too small for the maintenance of a viable population of ocelots, which probably use the landscape as a whole, moving between forest. However, the brown howler monkey presence at CBS in high densities may facilitate the persistence of ocelots at the site. Thus, some fragments although apparently small for the maintenance of viable felid populations could be important refuges and local stocks of prey (Chiarello 2000). On the other hand, the pressure by human hunting on the populations of species that are important items in the diet of ocelots, such as armadillos and pacas, can indirectly threaten ocelot populations, even in protected and relatively large areas as the VRDNR/SBR. Acknowledgements

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We would like to thank the O Boticrio Foundation of Nature Protection and the FACITEC for financial support. We are grateful to the Prof. Mello Leito Biology Museum for technical support, Dr. Albert David Ditchfield, Natalie Olifiers and Dr. Matthew Gompper for valuable comments and kind help with the final English version, and Juliana Quadros for help with the technique of hair slide preparation. We are especially grateful to Patricia Guedes and Alexandre Christoff for the identification of small mammals. References
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