Competition and coexistence in sympatric bobcats and pumas


  • Editor: Andrew Kitchener

Christine Hass, Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch, National Audubon Society, HC 1 Box 44, Elgin, AZ, 85611, USA.


Space use and diets of sympatric bobcats Lynx rufus and pumas Puma concolor were compared using sign surveys and scat analysis during 1997–2002 in south-eastern Arizona, USA. Bobcats appeared to use grassland, scrub, riparian and woodland habitats equally, but pumas had higher activity in riparian and woodland habitats. There was little evidence that bobcats avoided pumas in space use. Bobcats ate primarily rodents (33% of items in scats), lagomorphs (32%) and ungulates (16%), whereas pumas ate primarily ungulates (69%) and carnivores (21%). Pumas had a narrower dietary niche breadth than bobcats, and puma diet overlapped bobcat diet by 56%, suggesting that pumas may be more vulnerable to changes in prey density than bobcats. Pumas also killed and consumed bobcats, indicating that interference competition may be manifesting through intraguild predation.