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Behav Processes. 2006 Sep;73(2):228-30. Epub 2006 Jun 30.

A note on the effect of the full moon on the activity of wild maned wolves, Chrysocyon brachyurus.

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  • 1Fundação Zoo-Botânica, Av. Otacílio Negrão de Lima, 8000 Pampulha 31365-450, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


It is well established in the scientific literature that animal prey species reduce their activity at times of high predation risk. In the case of nocturnal animals this occurs when there is a full moon; however, the response of predators to the changes in their prey behaviour is relatively unknown. Two responses are possible: (1) increase in search effort to maintain food intake; or (2) decrease in distance travelled due to either: (a) an effort to conserve energy or (b) increased kill efficiency. Using GPS tracking collars we monitored the distances travelled (which is representative of search effort) by three maned wolves during the night of the full and new moon for five lunar cycles (during the dry season). A Wilcoxon matched-paired test showed that the maned wolves travelled significantly less during the full compared to the new moon (p < 0.05). On average, during the 10 h of darkness during a full moon maned wolves travelled 1.88 km less than on a new moon. These data suggest that maned wolves respond to temporally reduced prey availability by reducing their distance travelled.

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