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A triple threat: high population density, high foraging intensity and flexible habitat preferences explain high impact of feral cats on prey

Citation

Hamer, RP and Gardiner, RZ and Proft, KM and Johnson, CN and Jones, ME, A triple threat: high population density, high foraging intensity and flexible habitat preferences explain high impact of feral cats on prey, Royal Society of London. Proceedings. Biological Sciences, 288 Article 20201194. ISSN 0962-8452 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.1194

Abstract

Alien mammalian carnivores have contributed disproportionately to global loss of biodiversity. In Australia, predation by the feral cat and red fox is one of the most significant causes of the decline of native vertebrates. To discover why cats have greater impacts on prey than native predators, we compared the ecology of the feral cat to a marsupial counterpart, the spotted-tailed quoll. Individual prey are 20-200 times more likely to encounter feral cats, because of the combined effects of catsí higher population densities, greater intensity of home-range use and broader habitat preferences. These characteristics also mean that the costs to the prey of adopting anti-predator behaviours against feral cats are likely to be much higher than adopting such behaviours in response to spotted-tailed quolls, due to the reliability and ubiquity of feral cat cues. These results help explain the devastating impacts of cats on wildlife in Australia and other parts of the world.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:invasive species, feral cat, invasive predators, spotted-tailed quoll, predation, wildlife conservation, prey naivete, relative predation impact, predator-prey interaction
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:Hamer, RP (Miss Rowena Hamer)
UTAS Author:Gardiner, RZ (Ms Riana Gardiner)
UTAS Author:Proft, KM (Ms Kirstin Proft)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
UTAS Author:Jones, ME (Professor Menna Jones)
ID Code:142304
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP130100949)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2021-01-07
Last Modified:2021-03-23
Downloads:0

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