Population ecology of the white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama


  • Matthew E.Gompper

    1. Department of Zoology and Program in Life Sciences (Ethology), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, U.S.A.
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    • 2

      Department of Environmental and Resource Sciences and Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, University of Nevada, 1000 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512–0013, U.S.A.


The white-nosed coati, Nasua narica, is a common Neotropical carnivore with a social structure of band-living adult females and solitary adult males. A coati population on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, was studied over a four-year period by mark-recapture, radiotelemetry. and direct observation of habituated individuals. The population density was approximately 51.5 individuals/km2 and the sex ratio was 1:1. Band size varied from six to 26 individuals (mean = 15.3) with extensive fluctuation within and between years. Mean foraging group size was smaller (7.2 individuals) than population group size, and fluctuated with food availability, synchronous parturition, and the emigration of mature males. Mean home-range size of six bands was 0.33 km2, and ranges of adjacent bands overlapped from 0–66%. One band fissioned during the study; however, the resulting bands did not disperse from the original home range. Seven adult males had a mean home-range size of 0.37 km2, each extensively overlapping the home ranges of several other males. Observations of 10 adult males whose natal bands were known indicate that when males disperse they do not simultaneously leave the band's home range. Rather, their home ranges remain within or broadly overlapping those of their natal bands. This dispersal pattern is unusual within the order Carnivora.