Xenarthrans—anteaters, sloths, and armadillos—have essential functions for ecosystem maintenance, such as insect control and nutrient cycling, playing key roles as ecosystem engineers. Because of habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting pressure, and conflicts with domestic dogs, these species have been threatened locally, regionally, or even across their full distribution ranges. The Neotropics harbor 21 species of armadillos, 10 anteaters, and 6 sloths. Our data set includes the families Chlamyphoridae (13), Dasypodidae (7), Myrmecophagidae (3), Bradypodidae (4), and Megalonychidae (2). We have no occurrence data on Dasypus pilosus (Dasypodidae). Regarding Cyclopedidae, until recently, only one species was recognized, but new genetic studies have revealed that the group is represented by seven species. In this data paper, we compiled a total of 42,528 records of 31 species, represented by occurrence and quantitative data, totaling 24,847 unique georeferenced records. The geographic range is from the southern United States, Mexico, and Caribbean countries at the northern portion of the Neotropics, to the austral distribution in Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Uruguay. Regarding anteaters, Myrmecophaga tridactyla has the most records (n = 5,941), and Cyclopes sp. have the fewest (n = 240). The armadillo species with the most data is Dasypus novemcinctus (n = 11,588), and the fewest data are recorded for Calyptophractus retusus (n = 33). With regard to sloth species, Bradypus variegatus has the most records (n = 962), and Bradypus pygmaeus has the fewest (n = 12). Our main objective with Neotropical Xenarthrans is to make occurrence and quantitative data available to facilitate more ecological research, particularly if we integrate the xenarthran data with other data sets of Neotropical Series that will become available very soon (i.e., Neotropical Carnivores, Neotropical Invasive Mammals, and Neotropical Hunters and Dogs). Therefore, studies on trophic cascades, hunting pressure, habitat loss, fragmentation effects, species invasion, and climate change effects will be possible with the Neotropical Xenarthrans data set. Please cite this data paper when using its data in publications. We also request that researchers and teachers inform us of how they are using these data.
The Brazilian Cerrado is a global biodiversity hotspot with notoriously high rates of native vegetation suppression and wildfires over the past three decades. As a result, climate change can already be detected at both local and regional scales. In this study, we used three different approaches based on independent datasets to investigate possible changes in the daytime and nighttime temperature and air humidity between the peak of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season in the Brazilian Cerrado. Additionally, we evaluated the tendency of dew point depression, considering it as a proxy to assess impacts on biodiversity. Monthly increases of 2.2−4.0℃ in the maximum temperatures and 2.4−2.8℃ in the minimum temperatures between 1961 and 2019 were recorded, supported by all analyzed datasets which included direct observations, remote sensing, and modeling data. The warming raised the vapor pressure deficit, and although we recorded an upward trend in absolute humidity, relative humidity has reduced by ~15%. If these tendencies are maintained, gradual air warming will make nightly cooling insufficient to reach the dew point in the early hours of the night. Therefore, it will progressively reduce both the amount and duration of nocturnal dewfall, which is the main source of water for numerous plants and animal species of the Brazilian Cerrado during the dry season. Through several examples, we hypothesize that these climate changes can have a high impact on biodiversity and potentially cause ecosystems to collapse. We emphasize that the effects of temperature and humidity on Cerrado ecosystems cannot be neglected and should be further explored from a land use perspective.
We evaluated the effects of climate seasonality from a thermal and water availability perspective on the activity patterns and resource use of Pecari tajacu and Tayassu pecari during wet and dry seasons in the northeastern Brazilian Pantanal. We used camera traps and temperature sensors to record species activity patterns in relation to temperature, established five habitat categories based on flooding intensity and local vegetation characteristics, assessed the activity patterns of each species in dry and wet periods and in artificial water bodies using circular statistical metrics, and calculated niche amplitude and overlap on three axes (temperature, time, and habitat) in both periods. Peccaries shared a strong resemblance in resource use and in their responses to seasonal variations in the tested gradients. The activity patterns of both species exhibited a significant correlation with air temperature on all the evaluated measures, and both species strongly reduced their activity when the air temperature exceeded 35 °C. High temperatures associated with low water availability were most likely responsible for the changes in species activity patterns, which resulted in an increased temporal overlap in habitat use throughout the dry season. However, the peccaries avoided intensively flooded habitats; therefore, the habitat gradient overlap was greater during the wet period. Our results show that an increase in niche overlap on the environmental gradient as a result of climatic seasonality may be partially compensated by a reduction in other niche dimensions. In this case, temporal partitioning appears to be an important, viable mechanism to reduce competition by potentially competing species.
Questions: Perching and nursing effects drive initial steps of forest expansion over grasslands. Nursing effect is obviously related to niche mechanisms, while perching effect is likely to result both from neutral and niche factors. This study assessed the effect of neutral and niche factors on species composition in sapling communities developing beneath isolated trees/shrubs (ITS) in grassland. Location: A mosaic of Campos grassland and Araucaria forest in São Francisco de Paula, southern Brazil (29°28′S, 50°13′W). Methods: We described sapling communities beneath 32 ITS using mean number of forest woody saplings of different species. We performed a stepwise canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) to select ITS traits that maximized the association with species composition. Then we evaluated the contribution of distance from seed source, ITS traits and distance‐structured ITS traits on sapling community assembly using a variation partitioning method based on CCA and partial CCA. Results: Sapling species composition was significantly explained by ITS traits (ITS dispersal mode, ITS growth form, crown area:ITS height ratio, crown area, ITS height and crown area:volume ratio). Distance from seed sources explained only a minor, non‐significant fraction of sapling species composition. Distance‐structured trait variation was negligible. Conclusions: Sapling community assembly beneath ITS was mostly explained by niche factors related to both nursing and perching effects. Dispersal limitation explained only a small fraction of variation in species composition beneath ITS, suggesting that neutral‐based perching effect had a minor role in community assembly.
Biological invasion is one of the main threats to native biodiversity. For a species to become invasive, it must be voluntarily or involuntarily introduced by humans into a nonnative habitat. Mammals were among first taxa to be introduced worldwide for game, meat, and labor, yet the number of species introduced in the Neotropics remains unknown. In this data set, we make available occurrence and abundance data on mammal species that (1) transposed a geographical barrier and (2) were voluntarily or involuntarily introduced by humans into the Neotropics. Our data set is composed of 73,738 historical and current georeferenced records on alien mammal species of which around 96% correspond to occurrence data on 77 species belonging to eight orders and 26 families. Data cover 26 continental countries in the Neotropics, ranging from Mexico and its frontier regions (southern Florida and coastal‐central Florida in the southeast United States) to Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Uruguay, and the 13 countries of Caribbean islands. Our data set also includes neotropical species (e.g., Callithrix sp., Myocastor coypus, Nasua nasua) considered alien in particular areas of Neotropics. The most numerous species in terms of records are from Bos sp. (n = 37,782), Sus scrofa (n = 6,730), and Canis familiaris (n = 10,084); 17 species were represented by only one record (e.g., Syncerus caffer, Cervus timorensis, Cervus unicolor, Canis latrans). Primates have the highest number of species in the data set (n = 20 species), partly because of uncertainties regarding taxonomic identification of the genera Callithrix, which includes the species Callithrix aurita, Callithrix flaviceps, Callithrix geoffroyi, Callithrix jacchus, Callithrix kuhlii, Callithrix penicillata, and their hybrids. This unique data set will be a valuable source of information on invasion risk assessments, biodiversity redistribution and conservation‐related research. There are no copyright restrictions. Please cite this data paper when using the data in publications. We also request that researchers and teachers inform us on how they are using the data.
Mammalian carnivores are considered a key group in maintaining ecological health and can indicate potential ecological integrity in landscapes where they occur. Carnivores also hold high conservation value and their habitat requirements can guide management and conservation plans. The order Carnivora has 84 species from 8 families in the Neotropical region: Canidae; Felidae; Mephitidae; Mustelidae; Otariidae; Phocidae; Procyonidae; and Ursidae. Herein, we include published and unpublished data on native terrestrial Neotropical carnivores (Canidae; Felidae; Mephitidae; Mustelidae; Procyonidae; and Ursidae). NEOTROPICAL CARNIVORES is a publicly available data set that includes 99,605 data entries from 35,511 unique georeferenced coordinates. Detection/non‐detection and quantitative data were obtained from 1818 to 2018 by researchers, governmental agencies, non‐governmental organizations, and private consultants. Data were collected using several methods including camera trapping, museum collections, roadkill, line transect, and opportunistic records. Literature (peer‐reviewed and grey literature) from Portuguese, Spanish and English were incorporated in this compilation. Most of the data set consists of detection data entries (n = 79,343; 79.7%) but also includes non‐detection data (n = 20,262; 20.3%). Of those, 43.3% also include count data (n = 43,151). The information available in NEOTROPICAL CARNIVORES will contribute to macroecological, ecological, and conservation questions in multiple spatio‐temporal perspectives. As carnivores play key roles in trophic interactions, a better understanding of their distribution and habitat requirements are essential to establish conservation management plans and safeguard the future ecological health of Neotropical ecosystems. Our data paper, combined with other large‐scale data sets, has great potential to clarify species distribution and related ecological processes within the Neotropics. There are no copyright restrictions and no restriction for using data from this data paper, as long as the data paper is cited as the source of the information used. We also request that users inform us of how they intend to use the data.
This paper focuses on a rare case of natural disappearance of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in an extensive area without using traditional methods of eradication programs. The study was conducted both in the Private Reserve of Natural Heritage (PRNH) Sesc Pantanal and in an adjacent traditional private cattle ranch. In 1998, feral pigs were abundant and widely distributed in the PRNH. However, the feral pigs gradually disappeared from the area and currently, the absence of pigs in the PRNH contrasts with the adjacent cattle ranch where the species is abundant. To understand the current distribution of the species in the region we partitioned the effects of variation of feral pigs’ presence considering the habitat structure (local), landscape composition and the occurrence of potential predators. Additionally, we modeled the distributions of the species in Northern Pantanal, projecting into the past using the classes of vegetation cover before the PRNH implementation (year 1988). Our results show areas with more suitability for feral pigs in regions where the landscape is dominated by pastures and permeated by patches of Seasonal Dry Forest. The species tends to avoid predominantly forested areas. Additionally, we recorded that the environmental suitability decreases exponentially as the distance from water bodies increases. The disappearance of feral pigs in the PRNH area seems to be associated with changes in the landscape and vegetation structure after the removal of the cattle. In the Brazilian Pantanal, the feral pigs’ occurrence seems strongly conditioned to environmental changes associated to livestock activity.
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