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Science. 2014 Oct 3;346(6205):81-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1254885. Epub 2014 Oct 2.

Mammalian energetics. Instantaneous energetics of puma kills reveal advantage of felid sneak attacks.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA. williams@biology.ucsc.edu.
2
Wildlife Health Program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 4330 West Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA.
3
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA.
4
Center for Integrated Spatial Research, Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
5
Autonomous Systems Lab, Department of Computer Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.

Abstract

Pumas (Puma concolor) live in diverse, often rugged, complex habitats. The energy they expend for hunting must account for this complexity but is difficult to measure for this and other large, cryptic carnivores. We developed and deployed a physiological SMART (species movement, acceleration, and radio tracking) collar that used accelerometry to continuously monitor energetics, movements, and behavior of free-ranging pumas. This felid species displayed marked individuality in predatory activities, ranging from low-cost sit-and-wait behaviors to constant movements with energetic costs averaging 2.3 times those predicted for running mammals. Pumas reduce these costs by remaining cryptic and precisely matching maximum pouncing force (overall dynamic body acceleration = 5.3 to 16.1g) to prey size. Such instantaneous energetics help to explain why most felids stalk and pounce, and their analysis represents a powerful approach for accurately forecasting resource demands required for survival by large, mobile predators.

PMID:
25278610
DOI:
10.1126/science.1254885
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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