Researcher Disturbance Has Minimal Impact on Natural Predation of Caiman Nests in Central Amazonia

Barão-Nóbrega, José António Lemos; Marioni, Boris; Villamarín, Francisco; Soares, Amadeu M. V. M.; Magnusson, William E.; Da Silveira, Ronis
September 2014
Journal of Herpetology;Sep2014, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p338
Academic Journal
Predation is one of the major causes of crocodilian egg mortality. Many studies have suggested that opening nests, handling eggs, and capturing attending females may increase predation rates, but the influence of such activities on nest predation has not been quantified. For that reason, we studied the impacts of different research activities on nests of wild Spectacled Caimans ( Caiman crocodilus crocodilus) from a flooded forest ( várzea) in the Piagaçu-Purus Sustainable Development Reserve, Central Amazonia. During the 2010 nesting season, predation on eggs in disturbed nests was generally higher than in nests without research activities found in the same area. However, natural predation rates in similar habitat were not significantly different, suggesting that predation rates on disturbed nests, though elevated, remain within the broad range found in undisturbed nests. We conclude that the benefits in knowledge gained from research activities will generally out-weigh the small increase in nest predation that could result from research activities. A predação constitui uma das principais causas de mortalidade dos ovos em crocodilianos. Vários autores sugerem que o abrir os ninhos, manusear os ovos e capturar as respetivas fêmeas, poderá aumentar as taxas de predação. No entanto, o impacto destas atividades ainda não foi quantificado. Por esse motivo, nós estudamos diferentes níveis de impacto de pesquisa nos ninhos e respetivas fêmeas de jacaretinga ( Caiman crocodilus crocodilus) na floresta de várzea da Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Piagaçu-Purus, Amazónia Central. Durante a época de nidificação de 2010, a predação dos ovos em ninhos perturbados por actividades de pesquisa foi, de maneira geral, superior ao observado em ninhos não perturbados, encontrados no mesmo local. No entanto, as taxas de predação naturais em habitat semelhante não demonstraram ser significativamente diferentes, o que sugere que as taxas de predação em ninhos perturbados, mesmo apesar de elevadas, permanecem dentro do intervalo observado em ninhos não perturbados. Desta forma, concluímos que todo o conhecimento obtido durante actividades de pesquisa irá compensar a possibilidade de um pequeno aumento na predação dos ninhos, que poderá surgir em consequência de abrir os ninhos e manusear os ovos ou as fêmeas.


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