High moon brightness and low ambient temperatures affect sloth predation by harpy eagles

De Miranda, Everton B. P., Kenup, Caio F., Campbell-Thompson, Edwin, Vargas, Felix H., Muela, Angel, Watson, Richard, Peres, Carlos A. and Downs, Colleen T. (2020) High moon brightness and low ambient temperatures affect sloth predation by harpy eagles. PeerJ, 8. ISSN 2167-8359

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Climate plays a key role in the life histories of tropical vertebrates. However, tropical forests are only weakly seasonal compared with temperate and boreal regions. For species with limited ability to control core body temperature, even mild climatic variation can determine major behavioural outcomes, such as foraging and predator avoidance. In tropical forests, sloths are the arboreal vertebrate attaining the greatest biomass density, but their capacity to regulate body temperature is limited, relying on behavioural adaptations to thermoregulate. Sloths are largely or strictly nocturnal, and depend on crypsis to avoid predation. The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a sloth-specialist and exerts strong top-down control over its prey species. Yet the role of environmental variables on the regulation of predator–prey interactions between sloths and harpy eagles are unknown. The harpy eagle is considered Near Threatened. This motivated a comprehensive effort to reintroduce this species into parts of Mesoamerica. This effort incidentally enabled us to understand the prey profile of harpy eagles over multiple seasons.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 23:54
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2020 23:57
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/76734
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.9756

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