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The margay Leopardus Wiedii and bobcat Lynx Rufus from the dry forests of Southern Morelos, Mexico.

Mammalian carnivores, although of great ecological relevance and high conservation concern in Mexico, scarcely have been studied in most of the country. Several natural protected areas in Mexico do not have ecological information regarding carnivores that inhabit them. This sort of information can be of great relevance for development of management plans for these areas. Therefore, it is important to study communities of mammalian carnivores to obtain data on their presence, relative abundances, activity patterns, and other information. we initiated such a study to monitor carnivores at Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla, in Morelos, Mexico, and, as part of our results, we are reporting records of two species of felids that provide insight about their presence and distribution in this reserve.

Margays (Leopardus wiedii) and bobcats (Lynx rufus) have been reported as probably present at Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla (Sanchez and Romero, 1995), without any verifiable evidence of their occurrence there. For the margay, there is no reliable record for the state of Morelos. The margay is considered in danger of extinction by the Mexican government (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, 2010) and as near threatened on the international union for conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List (www. The bobcat is not threatened; but populations in Mexico are not well known and appear to be rare in some areas (

In May 2009, we began research on ecology of carnivores. we placed camera traps in two areas in Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla, which is in the northern Balsas Basin in southern Morelos. The reserve is ca. 60,000 ha and is the largest protected area created to preserve tropical dry forest in Mexico. it has become one of the most important remnants of this type of vegetation in south-central Mexico. The tropical dry forest is rich in plant and animal endemics, and is a highly threatened tropical ecosystem (Janzen, 1988; Trejo and Dirzo, 2000; Ceballos and Valenzuela, 2010). The Sierra de Huautla area is an important biogeographical zone within south-central Mexico and a conservation priority area (Arriaga et al., 2000).

Our study was conducted near two towns, El Limon de Cuauchichinola (municipality of Tepalcingo) and Quilamula (municipality of Tlaquiltenango), both near the eastern part of the reserve. On both sites, we set grids of cameras covering an area [greater than or equal to] 12 [km.sup.2]. Distances between cameras were [greater than or equal to]400 m and [less than or equal to] 4 cameras were set with each 1-[km.sup.2] sampled. A total of 30 cameras of three models was used; analogous cameras (Wildlife Pro II; Forestry Suppliers, Inc., Jackson, Mississippi) and Cuddeback cameras (models Capture and Expert; Non Typical, Inc., Park Falls, Wisconsin).

Cameras were set 50-90 cm above ground on trees at trails or natural paths to increase the chance of recording carnivores. No attractant was used. The time delay between photographs was set at 1 min. All cameras were operated 24-h/day for 15 days/camera session. During May 2009-March 2011, we accumulated a total of 3,655 camera-nights. We recorded five photographs of different individuals (based on locations of cameras and coat patterns) of margays (three from the site at El Limon de Cuauchichinola and two from the site at Quilamula) and two photos of two different bobcats at El Limon de Cuauchichinola. These records constitute the first confirmed evidence of the margay in Morelos and of the bobcat at Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla, and are relevant records because there is no previous record for the margay and few for the bobcat in the state ([less than or equal to] 6).

One photograph of a margay was obtained on 13 July 2009 at 0009 h, at a creek ca. 2.8 km W El Limon de Cuauchichinola, 1,209 m elevation (18[degrees]31'40"N, 98[degrees]57'48"W). Other carnivores detected by this camera were the coyote (Canis latrans) and white-nosed coati (Nasua narica). A second photograph was obtained on 7 September 2009 at 2117 h, at a small creek ca. 2.5 km SW Quilamula, 1,164 m elevation (18[degrees]29'46"N, 98[degrees]02'16"W). At the same camera trap, the raccoon (Procyon lotor), white-nosed coati, gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), and hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura) were recorded. The third photograph was obtained on 18 July 2010 at 2335 h, at a site on the slope of a mountain ca. 1.5 km NW Quilamula, 1,275 m elevation (18[degrees]31'15"N, 99[degrees]01'49"W). At the same camera was a gray fox. A fourth photograph was obtained 14 March 2011 at 0554 h, on the slope of a mountain ca. 1.7 km NW El Limon de Cuauchichinola, 1,251 m elevation (18[degrees]32'03"N, 98[degrees]57013"W). Other species photographed by the same camera were the white-nosed coati and raccoon. The fifth photograph was obtained 15 March 2011 at 0328 h, at a creek 2 km NW El Limon de Cuauchichinola, 1,305 m elevation (18[degrees]32'46"N, 98[degrees]56'57"W). Other carnivores at the same camera were the white-nosed coati and hooded skunk. On all five sites, vegetation was tropical dry forests and some common plants were guayacan (Conzattia multiflora), tepemezquite (Lysiloma divaricata), olinale (Bursera aloexylon), palo mulato (B. grandifolia), hinchahuevos (Comocladia engleriana), iztomeca (Euphorbia schlechtendalii), wild papaya (Jacaratia mexicana), cuachalalate (Amphipterigium adstringens) and cubata (Acacia cochleacantha). At creeks, some other common species of trees were amate blanco (Ficus insipida), amate prieto (F trigonata), shaving-brush tree (Pseudobombax ellipticum), and licania (Licania arborea).

In addition to the photographs, the carcass of a small spotted cat, probably killed by a vehicle, was on the dirt road that connects the town of Cajones with the town of El Zoquital (Ejido de Amacuzac, municipality of Amacuzac) in the western part of the reserve. The skull of this specimen, identified based on teeth as an adult margay (deposited in the collection of mammals at Centro de Investigacion en Biodiversidad y Conservacion) does not have a sagittal crest and its measurements (mm) are: greatest length of skull, 93.4; height of skull, 48.0; zygomatic breadth, 66.3; length of maxillary toothrow, 28.0; length of mandibular toothrow, 31.0; length of mandible, 62.2; interorbital width, 18.0; biorbital breadth (distance between outer borders of boney orbits), 58.0; height of braincase, 35.0; and width of braincase, 45.0. The dental formula is i 3/3, c 1/1, p 3/2, m 1/1, total 30. vegetation at the site was tropical dry forest and secondary forest (similar to a dry scrub), where common plants included, besides those previously mentioned, needle bush (Acacia farnesiana), cazahuate (Ipomoea pauciflora), Bentham rosy mimosa (Mimosa benthami), and cuahulahua (Heliocarpus pallidus), intermixed with agricultural lands. The area is near a mountain range ([less than or equal to] 2,100 m) where dry oak forests occur and where some large creeks covered with tropical dry forests are present.

Photographs of bobcats were obtained on 17 July 2009 at 1604 h and on 13 March 2010 at 1938 h, both photographs were at the same location in an arroyo ca. 2 km W El Limon Biological Station, 1,244 m elevation (18[degrees]32'35"N, 98[degrees]57019"W). Based on coat pattern of the tail and legs, it was determined that they were different individuals. vegetation at the site was tropical dry forest and some common plants in the area were tzompantle, coral tree (Erythrina americana), Conzattia multiflora, Lysiloma divaricata, cuayotomate (Vitex mollis), chiclillo (Stemmadenia bella), firebush (Hameliapatens), and Bursera grandifolia. other carnivores recorded there were the gray fox, white-nosed coati, raccoon, and coyote. Additionally, a local person from the town of Los Sauces (municipality of Tepalcingo), 5 km northeast of the site where the bobcats were photographed, informed us that their dogs discovered a juvenile bobcat on an agriculture area ca. 3 km NE Los Sauces, on 6 October 2009. He took the juvenile bobcat to his home, and took photographs that he gave to the chief of El Limon Biological Station who also saw the bobcat.

There is some confusion about the margay in Morelos. At the University of Kansas, there are two records for Morelos that have been reported as Leopardus wiedii, but also as L. pardalis. Avarez-Castaneda (1996) examined specimens at the university of Kansas and did not report the margay for Morelos, but he did report the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). When we asked S. T. Alvarez-Castaneda about the specimens, he verified that both records (two pelts and no skeletal material) were ocelots and not margays. Therefore, our records of margays constitute the first confirmed records of this species for Morelos and Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla. They also represent the central-most location of the species in Mexico. The closest reported site for the margay in central Mexico is ca. 157 km northeast of our study sites in the state of Mexico, near Nanchititla (18[degrees]45'36"N, 100[degrees]27'58"W; 1,830 m elevation; Chavez and Ceballos, 1998). Recently, the margay has been recorded for the first time in Guanajuato (ca. 21[degrees]N), also with the use of cameras (Iglesias et al., 2008), a method that is allowing a better understanding of wild carnivores in Mexico.

The margay probably hunts in trees and travels on the ground, and it does not adapt well to alterations of habitats (Reid, 1997). There is scanty evidence that under some circumstances it may use second-growth vegetation and subsist in patchy forests in areas with a high degree of disturbance of forests (de Oliveira, 1994, 1998). Our records of margays and bobcats in Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla confirm that the reserve and its conservation strategies could have a positive impact on conservation of carnivores in this tropical dry forest. Future research will include cameras, particularly as a monitoring tool, and in addressing questions related to relative abundance of species in different areas of Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla.

We thank G. Pacheco, G. Rendon, and residents of El Limon and Quilamula, and E. Rivas, B. Mora, and other students for valuable assistance during fieldwork. Part of this study was supported by Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos through a research grant provided to DVG (Fondo de Consolidacion-Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos2009); these funds also supported part of the masters thesis of A. de Leon-Ibarra who also had a graduate scholarship from Consejo Nacional de Cienciay Tecnologia. Thanks to colleagues from the Cuerpo Academico de Ecologia Evolutiva (Programa de Mejoramiento del Profesorado) for interesting discussions of ideas and data. Facilities provided by Centro de Investigation en Biodiversidad y Conservation, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos where very helpful. Thanks to A. Mata and J. C. Juarez. Thanks also to S. T. Alvarez-Castaneda for information about identification of specimens at the University of Kansas. Two anonymous reviewers provided useful comments.

Submitted 30 June 2011. Accepted 21 June 2012. Associate Editor was Celia Lopez-Gonza lez.


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David Valenzuela-Galvan,* Alejandra De Leon-Ibarra,Amantina Lavalle-Sanchez,Lorena Orozco-Lugo, and Cuauhtemoc Chavez

Centro de Investigation en Biodiversidad y Conservation, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos, Avenida Universidad 1001, Colonia Chamilpa, Cuernavaca, Morelos, C.P. 62209, Mexico (DVG, ALS, LOL) Maestria en Gestion Integrada de Cuencas, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, Avenida de las Ciencias s/n Juriquilla, Queretaro, Mexico (ADLI) Instituto de Ecologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Apartado Postal 70-275, Circuito exterior s/n anexo al Jardin Botanico Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, C.P. 04510 Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico (CC)

* Correspondent:
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Author:Valenzuela-Galvan, David; De Leon-Ibarra, Alejandra; Lavalle-Sanchez, Amantina; Orozco-Lugo, Lorena;
Publication:Southwestern Naturalist
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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