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      Optimal foraging of Neotropical otters (Carnivora: Mustelidae) in an urban river and predominance of generalist and sedentary fish in their diet


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          ABSTRACT Lontra longicaudis Olfers, 1818 is a semi-aquatic carnivore widely distributed in the Neotropical region. Understanding their diet contributes to an indirect understanding of their ecology and the composition of the local fauna. To this end, we analyzed 109 fecal samples and identified 238 morphological structures; these samples were collected between May 2006 and September 2007 from the Santa Lúcia Biological Station (SLBS) in southeastern Brazil. The area is intersected by the Timbuí River, which arrives at the site after crossing the urban perimeter of the city of Santa Teresa in the state of Espírito Santo. We found a predominance of fish in the otters’ diets (82%), mainly cichlids (50%), which are fish with sedentary habits and low mobility levels. The crustacean Trichodactylus fluviatilis Latreille, 1828 was the third most consumed taxon; this occurred mainly during the rainy season, corresponding to the crustacean’s reproductive period, when it is more vulnerable to predation. Otters exhibited a seasonal variation in their prey selectivity. Furthermore, they displayed opportunistic foraging behavior, as the most preyed fish were those with both low mobility and a high frequency in the environment, followed by fish with high mobility and high frequency, and then those with low mobility and low frequency. We concluded that the feeding habits of the otters in the SLBS are in line with the optimal foraging theory since prey selection was optimized through the balance between net energy gained and the energy costs of foraging.

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                Author and article information

                Zoologia (Curitiba)
                Zoologia (Curitiba)
                Sociedade Brasileira de Zoologia (Curitiba, PR, Brazil )
                : 40
                : e22033
                [1] Vitória Espírito Santo orgnameUniversidade Federal do Espírito Santo orgdiv1Departamento de Ciências Biológicas orgdiv2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas: Biologia Animal Brazil
                [2] Colatina ES orgname Brazil
                [4] Cariacica ES orgnameInstituto Estadual de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Hídricos Brazil
                [3] São Mateus ES orgnameFaculdade Multivix São Mateus Brazil
                S1984-46702023000100507 S1984-4670(23)04000000507

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                : 06 July 2022
                : 28 January 2023
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 65, Pages: 0

                SciELO Brazil

                Research Article

                trophic relationship,prey,opportunism,ecology,Anthropogenic pressure


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