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Temporal activity patterns of North China leopards and their prey in response to moonlight and habitat factors
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  • muhammad zaman,
  • Nathan James Roberts,
  • Mengyan Zhu,
  • Kasereka Vitekere,
  • Guangshun Jiang
muhammad zaman
Northeast Forestry University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Nathan James Roberts
Northeast Forestry University
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Mengyan Zhu
College of Life Science, Yanan University, Yanan 716000, China
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Kasereka Vitekere
University of Goma
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Chengdu Zoo No 234, Zhaojuesi South Road, Chenghua District, Chengdu 610057, China
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Guangshun Jiang
Northeast Forestry University
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The nocturnal activities of predators and prey are influenced by several factors, including physiological adaptations, habitat quality and, we suspect, corresponds to changes in brightness of moonlight according to moon phase. In this study, we used a dataset from 102 camera traps to explore which factors are related with the activity pattern of North China leopards (Panthera pardus japonensis) in Shanxi Tieqiaoshan Provincial Nature Reserve (TPNR), China. We found that nocturnal activities of leopards were irregular during four different lunar phases, and while not strictly lunar philic or lunar phobic, their temporal activity was highest during the brighter moon phases (especially the last quarter) and lower during the new moon phase. On the contrary, roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) exhibited lunar philic activity, while wild boar (Sus scrofa) and Tolai hare (Lepus tolai) were evidently lunar phobic, with high and low temporal activity during the full moon, respectively. In terms of temporal overlap, that there was positive overlap between leopards and their prey species, including roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) and Tolai hare (Lepus tolai), while leopard activity did not dip to the same low level of wild boar during the full moon phase. Generally, our results suggested that besides moonlight risk index (MRI), cloud cover and season have diverse effects on leopard and prey nocturnal activity. Finally, distinct daytime and nighttime habitats were identified, with leopards, wild boar and Tolai hare all using lower elevations at night and higher elevations during the day, while leopards and roe deer were closer to secondary roads during the day than at night.
13 Jan 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
15 Jan 2022Submission Checks Completed
15 Jan 2022Assigned to Editor
20 Jan 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
17 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Apr 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
20 May 20221st Revision Received
22 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 May 2022Submission Checks Completed
22 May 2022Assigned to Editor
27 May 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Jun 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 6. 10.1002/ece3.9032