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Differences in habitat use

Along the Amazon river are large expanses of lowland tropical forests that are flooded between 4 and 8 months of every year by the river.  These floodplain forests are often called "várzea forests."  On higher ground (60-200 meters), the tropical forests are never flooded, and so are called "terra firme forests" (Sick 1993).  In Amazonia, the 2 species of peccaries occur in both kinds of forests, but the white-lipped peccary prefers várzea forest while the collared peccary prefers terra firme forest (Bodmer (1990).  In both forests, the white-lipped peccary frequents wetter habitats than the collared peccary (Bodmer 1991a). 

In the Peruvian Amazon, the two species of peccaries respond differently to flooding in the várzea forests (Bodmer 1990).  The white-lipped peccary, which uses várzea forests extensively and ranges over large areas, reacts to flooding by migrating to distant várzea forests and does not change its diet.  In contrast, the collared peccary usually avoids várzea forests, and has a smaller home range than the white-lipped peccary.  Those relatively few collared peccaries inhabiting várzea forests do not migrate during floods, but become stranded on islands of higher ground in the river, where they switch to eating more leaves and less fruits. 

In the Calakmul Biosphere Preserve, Campeche, Mexico, white-lipped peccary tracks were found only in medium-subperennial forests, while collared peccary tracks were found in three forest types in proportion to the availability of these different forests: (1) medium-subperennial, (2) low-subperennial-seasonally-flooded and (3) low-semideciduous (Reyna-Hurtado and Tanner 2005).  Consequently, the white-lipped peccary was considered a habitat specialist, while the collared peccary was considered a habitat generalist.

In areas outside the Calakmul preserve, however, medium-subperennial forests were used extensively by humans for hunting and harvesting of chicle, lumber, palms nuts and honey.  In these areas, about half of white-lipped peccary tracks were found in medium-subperennial forests and half in low-subperennial-seasonally-flooded forests (Reyna-Hurtado and Tanner 2005).  In contrast, the frequency of collared peccary tracks in medium-subperennial forests increased (Reyna-Hurtado and Tanner 2005).

Encounters between peccary species

What happens when collared peccaries meet their larger relatives the white-lipped peccaries?  In the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, Keuroghlian et al. (2004) recorded 9 instances of collared peccary herds encountering white-lipped peccary subherds.  In each case, "within minutes of the encounters," the collared peccaries "rapidly vacated the area that white-lipped peccaries were entering."

These results are consistent with the Mexican study cited above, where collared peccary tracks were seen more frequently in medium-subperennial forests after white-lipped peccaries decreased their use of such forests (Reyna-Hurtado and Tanner 2005).

References

Altrichter M, Boaglio GI  (2004)  Distribution and relative abundance of peccaries in the Argentine Chaco: associations with human factors.  Biological Conservation 116: 217-225

Barreto GR, Hernandez OE, Ojasti J  (1997)  Diet of peccaries (Tayassu tajacu and T. pecari) in a dry forest in Venezuela.  Journal of the Zoological Society of London 241: 279-284

Beck H  (2006)  A review of peccary-palm interactions and their ecological ramifications across the Neotropics.  Journal of Mammalogy 87: 519-530

Bodmer RE  (1990)  Responses of ungulates to seasonal inundations in the Amazon floodplain.  Journal of Tropical Ecology 6: 191-201

Bodmer RE  (1991a)  Influence of digestive morphology on resource partitioning in Amazonian ungulates.  Oecologia 85: 361-65.

Bodmer RE  (1991b)  Strategies of seed dispersal and seed predation in Amazonian ungulates.  Biotropica 23: 255-261

Cullen L, Bodmer RE, Valladares-Pádua C  (2000)  Effects of hunting in habitat fragments of the Atlantic forest, Brazil.  Biological Conservation 95: 49-56

Emmons LH (1997) Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: a field guide; Second edition. University of Chicago Press, USA

Keuroghlian A, Eaton DP, Longland WS  (2004)  Area use by white-lipped and collared peccaries (Tayassu pecari and Tayassu tajacu) in a tropical forest fragment.  Biological Conservation 120: 411-425

Keuroghlian A, Eaton DP (2008)  Fruit availability and peccary frugivory in an isolated Atlantic Forest fragment:  Effects of peccary ranging behavior and habitat use.  Biotropica 40: 62-70

Kiltie RA  (1981)  Stomach contents of rain forest peccaries (Tayassu tajacu and T. pecari).  Biotropica 13: 234-236

Kiltie RA  (1982)  Bite force as a basis of niche differentiation between rain forest peccaries (Tayassu tajacu and T. pecari).  Biotropica 14: 188-195

Kiltie RA, Terborgh J  (1983)  Observations on the behavior of rain forest peccaries in Peru: Why do white-lipped peccaries form herds?  Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 62: 241-255

Olmos F  (1993)  Diet of sympatric Brazilian caatinga peccaries.  Journal of Tropical Ecology 9: 255-258

Peres CA  (1996)  Population status of white-lipped and collared peccaries in hunted and unhunted Amazonian forests.  Biological Conservation 77: 115-123.

Reyna-Hurtado R, Tanner GW  (2005)  Habitat preferences of ungulates in hunted and nonhunted areas in the Calakmul Forest, Campeche, Mexico.  Biotropica 37: 676-685

Robinson JG, Eisenberg JF  (1985)  Group size and foraging habits of the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu).  Journal of Mammalogy 66: 153-155

Sick H  (1993)  Birds in Brazil.  Princeton University Press, USA

Silvius KM  (2002)  Spatio-temporal patterns of palm endocarp use by three Amazonian forest mammals: granivory or 'grubivory'?  Journal of Tropical Ecology 18: 707-723

Sowls LK  (1997)  Javelinas and other peccaries.  Texas A&M University Press, College Station

Taber AB, Altrichter M, Beck H, Gongora  (2011)  Family Tayassuidae (Peccaries).  Pp 292-307 in Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 2: Hoofed Mammals.  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona

Information about this Review

This review is also available in the following languages:  

Portuguese    Spanish

Photograph at top of page:  A herd of Collared Peccaries crosses the road in Big Bend National Park, Texas.  Photo by Sue Reilly (USA).

The author is:  Dr. Paul D. Haemig (Sweden)

The proper citation is:

Haemig PD  2012   Sympatric white-lipped peccary and collared peccary.  ECOLOGY.INFO 10

If you are aware of any important scientific publications about sympatric white-lipped peccary and collared peccary that were omitted from this review, or have other suggestions for improving it, please contact the author at his e-mail address: 

haemig {at} ecology.info 

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