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|Title:||Estimating age of carnivores from the Pantanal region of Brazil|
Bianchi, Rita de Cassia
D`Andrea, Paulo Sérgio
Gompper, Mathew E.
|Affilliation:||University of Missouri. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. Columbia, MO, USA.|
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul. Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Conservação. Campo Grande, MS, Brasil.
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. Laboratório de Biologia e Parasitologia de Mamíferos Silvestres Reservatós, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.
Embrapa Pantanal. Centro de Pesquisa Agropecuária do Pantanal. Laboratório de Vida Selvagem. Corumbá, MS, Brasil.
University of Missouri. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. Columbia, MO, USA.
|Abstract:||Conservation and management of animal populations often require knowledge about the age structure, but this information is usually difficult to discern. We propose a method to estimate the age of carnivores based on dental condition and body size measurements, and we apply the method to populations of brown-nosed coatis Nasua nasua and crab-eating foxes Cerdocyon thous in the Brazilian Pantanal. We sexed, weighed and measured 31 coatis and 45 foxes of known-age, and characterized and quantified their pattern of dental eruption and wear for the construction of a teeth condition index. Scores of the first factors of a principal component analysis including data on six body size measurements and the teeth condition index of the individuals were then used in a discriminant analysis to generate functions that can be used for estimating age of animals of unknown age. Models were validated using subsets of individuals of known age through a 3-fold cross validation process. The first functions accounted for over 90% of the discriminatory power for both species. Whereas in coatis, the first function was mainly explained by the body size measurements, in crab-eating foxes it was represented mainly by the teeth condition index. During model validation, individuals were on average classified with 88 and 80% average confidence for coatis and foxes, respectively. Our method is as accurate as other methods that are commonly applied to assess age, but less subjective. While it requires animal capturing, it is less invasive than methods requiring tissue removal such as analyses of teeth cementum annuli. The method we outlined can be used for age estimation of other populations, as long as the models are validated with a subset of animals from the region studied. It could also be useful as a model for estimating age of other carnivore species.|
|Citation:||OLIFIERS, Natalie; et al. Estimating age of carnivores from the Pantanal region of Brazil. Wildl. Biol., v.16, p.389-399, 2010.|
|Appears in Collections:||IOC - Artigos de Periódicos|
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