Camera-trap data do not indicate scaling of diel activity and cathemerality with body mass in an East African mammal assemblage

Diel activity patterns of animal species reflect constraints imposed by morphological, physiological, and behavioral trade-offs, but these trade-offs are rarely quantified for multispecies assemblages. Based on a systematic year-long camera-trap study in the species-rich mammal assemblage of Lake Manyara National Park (Tanzania), we estimated activity levels (hours active per day) and circadian rhythms of 17 herbivore and 11 faunivore species to determine the effects of body mass and trophic level on activity levels and cathemerality (the degree to which species are active throughout the day and night). Using generalized least squares and phylogenetic generalized least squares analyses, we found no support for the hypothesis that trophic level is positively associated with activity levels. We found no support for activity levels to scale positively with body mass in herbivores or to differ between ruminants and nonruminants; in faunivores, we also did not detect relationships between body mass and activity levels. Cathemerality was positively associated with activity levels but did not scale significantly with body mass. Overall, our findings caution against trophic level or body mass-associated generalized conclusions with regard to diel activity patterns.

Publish DateOctober 14, 2021
Last UpdatedOctober 14, 2021
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