Flexible energetics of cheetah hunting strategies provide resistance against kleptoparasitism

David M Scantlebury, Michael G L Mills, Rory P Wilson, John W Wilson, Margaret E J Mills, Sarah M Durant, Nigel C Bennett, Peter Bradford, Nikki J Marks, John R Speakman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Population viability is driven by individual survival, which in turn depends on individuals balancing energy budgets. As carnivores may function close to maximum sustained power outputs, decreased food availability or increased activity may render some populations energetically vulnerable. Prey theft may compromise energetic budgets of mesopredators, such as cheetahs and wild dogs, which are susceptible to competition from larger carnivores. We show that daily energy expenditure (DEE) of cheetahs was similar to size-based predictions and positively related to distance traveled. Theft at 25% only requires cheetahs to hunt for an extra 1.1 hour per day, increasing DEE by just 12%. Therefore, not all mesopredators are energetically constrained by direct competition. Other factors that increase DEE, such as those that increase travel, may be more important for population viability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-81
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume346
Issue number6205
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Acinonyx
  • Animals
  • Carnivory
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Food Chain
  • Predatory Behavior

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    Scantlebury, D. M., Mills, M. G. L., Wilson, R. P., Wilson, J. W., Mills, M. E. J., Durant, S. M., Bennett, N. C., Bradford, P., Marks, N. J., & Speakman, J. R. (2014). Flexible energetics of cheetah hunting strategies provide resistance against kleptoparasitism. Science, 346(6205), 79-81. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1256424