Daily Activity Patterns and Co-Occurrence of Duikers Revealed by an Intensive Camera Trap Survey across Central African Rainforests. uri icon

abstract

  • Simple Summary: Forest duikers are one of the most important groups of mammals in Central African rainforests and over the whole Guineo-Congolian Region. To better understand the mechanisms of habitat use and sharing among duiker species, we quantified duiker activity, temporal and spatial interactions. Data were collected using camera traps over five years, in 12 sites scattered in four countries: Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon. We found that duikers usually have two main peaks of activity, which are mostly dependent on sunrise and/or sunset. In addition, analyses of temporal interactions (for five species) identified four species pairs with strong interactions and six pairs with weak interactions. Spatial interaction tests revealed no competitive habitat use among species. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the ecology of duikers in Central African rainforests, in order to improve their conservation and management.
  • The duiker community in Central African rainforests includes a diversity of species that can coexist in the same area. The study of their activity patterns is needed to better understand habitat use or association between the species. Using camera traps, we studied the temporal activity patterns, and quantified for the first time the temporal overlap and spatial co-occurrence between species. Our results show that: (i) Two species are strongly diurnal: Cephalophus leucogaster, and Philantomba congica, (ii) two species are mostly diurnal: C. callipygus and C. nigrifrons, (iii) one species is strongly nocturnal: C. castaneus, (iv) and one species is mostly nocturnal: C. silvicultor. Analyses of temporal activities (for five species) identified four species pairs that highly overlapped (Delta<^> >= 0.80), and six pairs that weakly overlapped (Delta<^> between 0.06 and 0.35). Finally, co-occurrence tests reveal a truly random co-occurrence (p(lt) > 0.05 and p(gt) > 0.05) for six species pairs, and a positive co-occurrence (p(gt) < 0.05) for four pairs. Positive co-occurrences are particularly noted for pairs formed by C. callipygus with the other species (except C. nigrifrons). These results are essential for a better understanding of the coexistence of duikers and the ecology of poorly known species (C. leucogaster and C. nigrifrons), and provide clarification on the activity patterns of C. silvicultor which was subject to controversy. Camera traps proved then to be a powerful tool for studying the activity patterns of free-ranging duiker populations.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020