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Spatio-temporal hotspots of satellite-tracked arctic foxes reveal a large detection range in a mammalian predator.

Lai S, Bêty J, Berteaux D - Mov Ecol (2015)

Bottom Line: The scale at which animals perceive their environment is a strong fitness determinant, yet few empirical estimates of animal detection ranges exist, especially in mammalian predators.Using daily Argos satellite tracking of 26 adult arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) during a single winter in the High Canadian Arctic, we investigated the detection range of arctic foxes by detecting hotspots of fox activity on the sea ice.Foxes often traveled more than 10 km, and up to 40 km, to reach hotspots, which lasted one-two weeks and could gather up to 12 individuals.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Canada Research Chair on Northern Biodiversity, Centre for Northern Studies and Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1 Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: The scale at which animals perceive their environment is a strong fitness determinant, yet few empirical estimates of animal detection ranges exist, especially in mammalian predators. Using daily Argos satellite tracking of 26 adult arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) during a single winter in the High Canadian Arctic, we investigated the detection range of arctic foxes by detecting hotspots of fox activity on the sea ice.

Results: While maintaining territories in the tundra, these solitary foragers occasionally used the sea ice where they sometimes formed spatio-temporal hotspots, likely scavenging on marine mammal carcasses. We detected 35 movements by 13 individuals forming five hotspots. Foxes often traveled more than 10 km, and up to 40 km, to reach hotspots, which lasted one-two weeks and could gather up to 12 individuals. The likelihood of a fox joining a hotspot was neither influenced by its distance from the hotspot nor by the distance of its home range to the coast.

Conclusions: Observed traveling distances may indicate a high detection range in arctic foxes, and our results suggest their ability to detect food sources on the sea ice from their terrestrial home range. While revealing a wide knowledge gap regarding resource detection abilities in mammalian predators, our study provides estimates of detection range useful for interpreting and modeling animal movements. It also allows a better understanding of foraging behavior and navigation capacity in terrestrial predators.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Fox locations for five spatio–temporal hotspots (a-e: Hotspot–1 to Hotspot–5) on the sea ice. Histograms show the chronology of arctic fox presence for each hotspot detected on the sea ice of Navy Board Inlet (Nunavut, Canada) during winter 2010–2011. Individual foxes are labeled with a letter (M for males and F for females) followed by their identity number. Crosses indicate the fox home range centers, with colored crosses for foxes detected at hotspots. The study area is depicted in dark grey. A star in (c ) shows where Pond Inlet hunters had stored some whale meat, with the dashed line indicating the straight route from the whale cache to Pond Inlet
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Fig2: Fox locations for five spatio–temporal hotspots (a-e: Hotspot–1 to Hotspot–5) on the sea ice. Histograms show the chronology of arctic fox presence for each hotspot detected on the sea ice of Navy Board Inlet (Nunavut, Canada) during winter 2010–2011. Individual foxes are labeled with a letter (M for males and F for females) followed by their identity number. Crosses indicate the fox home range centers, with colored crosses for foxes detected at hotspots. The study area is depicted in dark grey. A star in (c ) shows where Pond Inlet hunters had stored some whale meat, with the dashed line indicating the straight route from the whale cache to Pond Inlet

Mentions: Once hotspots were located, we identified individuals using each hotspot by intersecting fox locations on the sea ice with hotspot areas. We considered locations on the sea ice to be outside of fox home ranges if their distance to the home range boundary was higher than their associated Argos location error. The synchronous use of a given spot by several foxes is the most likely to reveal a carrion feeding event, thus we checked if foxes using a given area did so synchronously by analyzing the chronology of fox presence at the hotspots (Fig. 2). We kept only the hotpots where ≥ one fox was present during ≥ two consecutive days.Fig. 2


Spatio-temporal hotspots of satellite-tracked arctic foxes reveal a large detection range in a mammalian predator.

Lai S, Bêty J, Berteaux D - Mov Ecol (2015)

Fox locations for five spatio–temporal hotspots (a-e: Hotspot–1 to Hotspot–5) on the sea ice. Histograms show the chronology of arctic fox presence for each hotspot detected on the sea ice of Navy Board Inlet (Nunavut, Canada) during winter 2010–2011. Individual foxes are labeled with a letter (M for males and F for females) followed by their identity number. Crosses indicate the fox home range centers, with colored crosses for foxes detected at hotspots. The study area is depicted in dark grey. A star in (c ) shows where Pond Inlet hunters had stored some whale meat, with the dashed line indicating the straight route from the whale cache to Pond Inlet
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4644628&req=5

Fig2: Fox locations for five spatio–temporal hotspots (a-e: Hotspot–1 to Hotspot–5) on the sea ice. Histograms show the chronology of arctic fox presence for each hotspot detected on the sea ice of Navy Board Inlet (Nunavut, Canada) during winter 2010–2011. Individual foxes are labeled with a letter (M for males and F for females) followed by their identity number. Crosses indicate the fox home range centers, with colored crosses for foxes detected at hotspots. The study area is depicted in dark grey. A star in (c ) shows where Pond Inlet hunters had stored some whale meat, with the dashed line indicating the straight route from the whale cache to Pond Inlet
Mentions: Once hotspots were located, we identified individuals using each hotspot by intersecting fox locations on the sea ice with hotspot areas. We considered locations on the sea ice to be outside of fox home ranges if their distance to the home range boundary was higher than their associated Argos location error. The synchronous use of a given spot by several foxes is the most likely to reveal a carrion feeding event, thus we checked if foxes using a given area did so synchronously by analyzing the chronology of fox presence at the hotspots (Fig. 2). We kept only the hotpots where ≥ one fox was present during ≥ two consecutive days.Fig. 2

Bottom Line: The scale at which animals perceive their environment is a strong fitness determinant, yet few empirical estimates of animal detection ranges exist, especially in mammalian predators.Using daily Argos satellite tracking of 26 adult arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) during a single winter in the High Canadian Arctic, we investigated the detection range of arctic foxes by detecting hotspots of fox activity on the sea ice.Foxes often traveled more than 10 km, and up to 40 km, to reach hotspots, which lasted one-two weeks and could gather up to 12 individuals.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Canada Research Chair on Northern Biodiversity, Centre for Northern Studies and Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1 Canada.

ABSTRACT

Background: The scale at which animals perceive their environment is a strong fitness determinant, yet few empirical estimates of animal detection ranges exist, especially in mammalian predators. Using daily Argos satellite tracking of 26 adult arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) during a single winter in the High Canadian Arctic, we investigated the detection range of arctic foxes by detecting hotspots of fox activity on the sea ice.

Results: While maintaining territories in the tundra, these solitary foragers occasionally used the sea ice where they sometimes formed spatio-temporal hotspots, likely scavenging on marine mammal carcasses. We detected 35 movements by 13 individuals forming five hotspots. Foxes often traveled more than 10 km, and up to 40 km, to reach hotspots, which lasted one-two weeks and could gather up to 12 individuals. The likelihood of a fox joining a hotspot was neither influenced by its distance from the hotspot nor by the distance of its home range to the coast.

Conclusions: Observed traveling distances may indicate a high detection range in arctic foxes, and our results suggest their ability to detect food sources on the sea ice from their terrestrial home range. While revealing a wide knowledge gap regarding resource detection abilities in mammalian predators, our study provides estimates of detection range useful for interpreting and modeling animal movements. It also allows a better understanding of foraging behavior and navigation capacity in terrestrial predators.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus