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Tayra - Eira barbara
Attempted predation on Brazilian rabbit (Sylvilagus brasiliensis - Lagomorpha: Leporidae) by tayra (Eira barbara - Carnivora: Mustelidae)

The tayra Eira barbara (Linnaeus, 1758) is a very common neotropical mustelid with a wide distribution. Although it usually lives in undisturbed primary forest it also occurs in disturbed habitats (Emmons and Feer 1997). I report here an observation of attempted predation by a tayra in the western Amazon, in Acre, Brazil.

The observation occurred about 25 km from the city of Rio Branco at Fazenda Experimental Catuaba (10º4’S and 67º37’W), with 820 ha of disturbed forest.

At 8:45 a.m. on 04 June 1998, I observed an adult Brazilian rabbit Sylvilagus brasiliensis (Linnaeus, 1758), running across the trail at a distance of about 4 m from the observing point. Five behind the Brazilian rabbit an adult of Eira barbara came running in pursuit but retreated with observer presence. The local forest has a open canopy, there are many palms and the understory is closed.

Sylvilagus brasiliensis are nocturnal animals, and tayras are primarily diurnal (Emmons and Feer 1997). This could explain why it is hardly cited in literature as being part of the diet of tayras. Therefore, more research is necessary to affirm Sylvilagus brasiliensis as accidental item food in diet of Eira barbara
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The tayra as a possible predator of monkeys

One other possible carnivoran predator of New World monkeys is the tayra (Eira barbara , Mustelidae). The tayra is cathemeral (Sunquist et al., 1989; Emmons, 
1990; Presley, 2000), but its eyesight is reported to be poor (Defl er, 1980). The tayra is the only mustelid in the Neotropics that exhibits arboreality (Eisenberg, 1981), although progression is generally along the forest fl oor (Emmons, 1990). There are several reports of close encounters between tayras and ceboids. In a study of the Panamanian tamarin (S.geoffroyi) , Moynihan (1970, p. 4) relates a secondhand account of a tayra, ‘carrying a dead tamarin in its mouth’. Galef et al. (1976) suggested 
that tayras might be important predators of callitrichis and small cebids, and Hernandez-Camacho and Cooper (1976) reported a tayra being observed in rapid pursuit of a troop of tufted capuchins (C. apella) . Izawa (1978) described a foraging tayra coming dangerously close to a sleeping group of black mantled tamarins (S. nigricollis) , before it caught sight of the observer and withdrew. Defl er (1980) observed a tayra attempt an arboreal pursuit of a white fronted capuchin monkey (C. albifrons);  although the capuchin threatened the tayra (i.e. showing canines, making stare threats, branch breaking and growling), it also easily leapt away from the tayra, 
which was described as being a clumsy climber. In contrast, Redford and Eisenberg (1992) describe the tayra as an excellent climber. Compared to the fossa and felids, however, the tayra has a relatively low degree of forepaw dexterity (Iwaniuk et al., 2000), so less agility in the trees might be expected. Defl er (1980) concluded that tayras were only a minor threat to Cebus compared to predatory birds. Because 
tayras also eat fruit, Defl er [1980] further suggested that interactions between tayras and white-fronted capuchins could actually come about due to feeding competition for fruit rather than predation attempts by tayras. Terborgh (1983) considered the tayra as being capable of occasionally ambushing ground-foraging Cebus or squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sp.), but also stated no such attacks had been witnessed. More recently, Phillips (1995) observed both white-faced capuchins (C. capucinus) and mantled howler monkeys on Barro Colorado Island give ‘aggressive vocalizations’ towards a tayra; the capuchins also threatened the tayra and lunged at it, while the 
howler monkeys remained high in emergent trees, vocalizing. Stafford and Ferreira (1995) described a group of seven reintroduced golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) suddenly reversing their direction of travel, scattering and beginning to 
alarm call following what was apparently an unsuccessful predation attempt by a tayra in the forest subcanopy (at a height of 3–5 m); the golden lion tamarins began alarm calling only after they had retreated to a distance of approximately 10 m from 
the tayra. Because the authors sighted the tayra only after the golden lion tamarins began fl eeing, it was unclear to them whether the tayra had been lying in ambush, stalking the L. rosalia , or if it they had observed a chance encounter between the two 
species. Both the tayra and the golden lion tamarins left the area immediately after the encounter, but the golden lion tamarins continued their vocalizing for another 13 min. This report is signifi cant because there has been concern among researchers 
about the risk of tayra predation of reintroduced L. rosalia (Fernandez-Duque, pers. comm.). Asensio and Gomez-Marin (2002) observed a group of four adult tayras display aggressive behaviour towards a group of mantled howler monkeys; 2 adult female howler monkeys approached the tayras, causing the tayras to retreat. Asensio and Gomez-Marin (2002) also note that a successful predation of a primate by a tayra has not been observed (cf. Moynihan’s 1970 secondhand account, above), and they conclude that unlike the jaguar and harpy eagle, the tayra is not a serious threat to the howler monkey (see also Terborgh, 1983).
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Remarkable altitudinal range extension of Eira barbara Tayra (Mammalia: Mustelidae).

[Image: Figura-1-Localidades-de-Eira-barbara-en-...-sobre.png]
Localities of Eira barbara in Ecuador that extend their altitudinal range over 2600 m, the triangles represent camera trap stations in: 1) Chamanapamba Nature Reserve; 2) Cerro La Candelaria Protected Forest. Reference points: 3) Tungurahua Volcano; 4) Holy Water Baths.

Between December 2011 and March 2012 we obtained photographs of Eira barbara in four sampling stations located in the cloud forests of the Chamanapamba Nature Reserve (stations TT7 and TT8) and Cerro La Candelaria Protected Forest (stations T.6 and T.10) ) located between 2665 and 3100 m of altitude. All these records increase the altitudinal range known for the species. In particular, the registration within the cloud forest of the Chamanapamba Nature Reserve
that reaches the 3100 meters of elevation.

The ecological habits of the species have not been widely documented, however, it is presumed that these individuals make large displacements in search of resources, having defined a life area of 530 ha. and establishing the use of various types of habitat available for the species. This premise would allow us to suppose that E. barbara uses different routes in the study area as accesses to areas with greater availability of resources, which would correspond
to the Sangay National Park.

During the field trips it was possible to show the arboreal and elusive habits of the species, observing an individual descending quickly from a tree, upon noticing the closeness of people (G. Ríos Alvear, obspers.). Eira Barbara exhibited curious behavior towards camera traps, destroying one of them. The aggressor could be identified by reviewing the videos, where an individual of E. barbara sniffs the camera, bites the lens and finally scratches the sensor until it breaks completely.
There is a specimen of E. barbara deposited in the Field Museum of Chicago (FMNH 70767) collected in the Balcones River, municipality of Guasca, department from Cundinamarca, Colombia, by Phillip Hershkovitz to 2750 meters elevation, on May 29, 1952. This record and the information from the present study suggest that E. barbara inhabits the 2,500 meters of elevation at least in Colombia and Ecuador, and that the studies on its distribution have not been exhaustive . The use of new methodologies such as phototraping can yield new geographic and behavioral information of the species. We believe that continuous monitoring with camera traps in altitudinal ranges above 2500 m is necessary to evaluate E. barbara populations and their displacement patterns.

[Image: Figura-4-Registro-de-Eira-barbara-a-2708...T6-del.png]
Register of Eira barbara 2708 meters from elevation at station T.6 of the Protective Forest Cerro La Candelaria, Tungurahua, Ecuador.

[Image: Figura-2-Registro-de-Eira-barbara-a-3100...-de-la.png]
Register of Eira barbara at 3100 meters from
elevation in the T.T.7 station of the Nature Reserve
Chamanapamba, Tungurahua, Ecuador.

[Image: Figura-3-Registro-de-Eira-barbara-a-2665...-de-la.png]
Eira barbara register at 2665 meters elevation in the T.T.8 station of the Chamanapamba Nature Reserve, Tungurahua, Ecuador.

[Image: Figura-5-Registro-de-Eira-barbara-a-2766...10-del.png]
Registration of Eira barbara at 2766 meters elevation in the T.10 station of the Protective Forest Cerro La Candelaria, Tungurahua, Ecuador.

[Image: Figura-6-Registro-de-Eira-barbara-a-2766...10-del.png]
Registration of Eira barbara at 2766 meters of elevation in the T.10 station of the Protective Forest Cerro La Candelaria, Tungurahua, Ecuador.
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From Shenzi:

Journal Reference:
Sáenz-Bolaños et al.: Tayra (Eira barbara) predation of a brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus) Edentata: in press

Being strictly arboreal, sloths become more vulnerable to predation when on the ground. Records of such predation, however, are rare. Here we present video documentation of a tayra (Eira barbara) preying on a juvenile brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus) in Barbilla National Park, Costa Rica. Tayras and other ground predators, plus human activities such as habitat fragmentation, are probably major factors influencing sloth life history and permanence in the ecosystem. Predation by tayras might be more common than we think, particularly in disturbed forests.

Attached Files
.pdf   Saenz-Bolanos et al_Tayra predation of a brown-throated three-toed sloth in Costa Rica.pdf (Size: 509.26 KB / Downloads: 1)
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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Predation by the tayra (Eira barbara) on the agouti and the iguana in Barro Colorado Island.

On 1 September 1974 at 10:30 A.M. on a sunny day, a tayra and iguana were observed as they fell from a tree located in the Allee Creek ravine to the north of the laboratory clearing on Barro Colorado Island. A few seconds later, an adult female iguana (45.5
centimeters snout-vent length) came running by on the ground with a female tayra in pursuit. The tayra easily kept pace with the iguana during the 30 meter (15 second) chase. The iguana wedged itself under some fallen logs, concealing much of its body,
but the tayra bit the iguana on the snout, inflicting puncture wounds, and severely mauled the iguana's right forelimb. The observer chased the tayra away so the iguana could be measured. The iguana was unresponsive to stimulation, but stilI alive. After
the human observers retreated, the female tayra returned and dragged the iguana away. During the whole episode, a male tayra paced back and forth at about 10 m distance but did not join in the attack.
On 27 June 1974 at 8:50 A.M. at a spot some 200 m from the site of the iguana attack, a pair of tayras briefly chased twin four-day old agoutis. The young animals retreated to their nest hole and the tayras investigated the entrance until the mother agouti, which had been lying nearby, successfully chased them from the vicinity of the nest.
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OBSERVATION OF ATTEMPTED PREDATION OF A Derby's Woolly opossum (Caluromys derbianus) BY A TAYRA (Eira barbara) DURING DAYLIGHT IN BELIZE

I report here the attempted predation of a wholly opossum (Caluromys derbianus) by a tayra (Eira barbara). On December 26 2016, I was cannoning in the Macal River upstream from the towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio in the Cayo District of west - central Belize (Figure 1).
I boarded the canoe close to the San Antonio town around 10:30 AM. The river was about 80 m wide and its margins were covered by a semi-green rainforest (Figure 2). The tallest trees were about 30 - 40 meters including Ceiba (Ceiba sp), guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), and Fig (Ficus sp) trees, among many other species. Alone the riverbank I saw proboscis bats (Rhynchonycteris naso), Yucatan grey squirrels (Sciurus yucatanicus), green iguanas (Iguana iguana), and heard black howler monkeys (Allouatta pigra). There were many species of birds such as Keel-bi-lled toucan (Rhamphastos sulfuratus), collared aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus), and white-collared 
manakin (Manacus candei).

The day was cloudy and in the two-hour canoeing trip it slightly rained for about 10 minutes. Around 11:51 AM I and the other 4 people in my party suddenly heard a lot of noise and observed chaotic movements of the branches of some trees on the left margin of the river bank (approximate location: 170 06’ 51.40” N, 890 04’ 07.64”). The temperature was approximately 20°C. The forest was dense and the tallest trees were estimated to be around 30 m height. We saw a wholly opossum (Caluromys dervianus) running away from a tayra. Our presence disturbed the tayra and the opossum escaped climbing a very thin vine, likely no more that 2 cm diameter. As we got closer the riverbank, the tayra climb down the tree and ran away (Figure 3). From what I observed, it seem that the tayra had found the wholly opossum in its nest in a tree hollow and intended to prey upon it. Observing a tayra preying upon wholly opossum has not been reported before.

[Image: YUFSwyX.png]
[Image: PUVa3o5.png]
Figure 1. Location of the observation site in the Macal River, Cayo District, Belize. Photo: Gerardo Ceballos.

[Image: cPYN82w.png]
Figure 2. Macal River close to the observation site. Photo: Gerardo Ceballos.

[Image: wDe7d5G.png]
Figure 3. Tayra (Eira barbara) photographed after abandoning the attemted predation of the wholly 
opposum (Caluromys derbiabus). Photo: Gerardo Ceballos
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@Shenzi: There is an error of the common name of the species Caluromys derbianus. Its common name is "Derby's Woolly Opossum" or "Central American Woolly Opossum", not "Wholly Opossum".
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