Diet of the Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) and Silver-Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas) in the Southern Part of the Serengeti Ecosystem, Tanzania: A Comparative Study

Steven E. Temu, Cuthbert L. Nahonyo, Marion L. East, Patricia D. Moehlman


Habitat and food resource partitioning are predicted to facilitate the coexistence of similar-sized carnivores. The golden jackal (Canis aureus) and silver-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) are similar-sized canids that respectively inhabit grassland and woodland in the Serengeti ecosystem, Tanzania. As information on the diet and food-intake of these two species in this ecosystem is limited, we aimed to compare the diet and food-intake of these canids in the wet and dry seasons, using data from focal samples of foraging behaviour and scat analysis. We predicted dietary differences between these species, seasonal differences within species and peak food intake when breeding. Result of a logistic regression considering insect and small mammal remains in scats revealed dietary differences both between species and within-species seasonal differences. Results of a censored regression model on the estimated weigh of food intake by foraging individuals indicated that intake was highest during the breeding season of each species, which occurs in the wet season in golden jackals and the dry-season in silver-backed jackals. Our study provides new insights on differences in the foraging ecology of these two jackal species in the Serengeti ecosystem.

Keywords:    Canis aureus; Canis mesomelas; diet; Serengeti ecosystem; seasons

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