Use of century plants (Agave palmeri) by coatis (Nasua narica)

Maureen E. McColgin, Erica J. Brown, Sophia M. Bickford, Anna L. Eilers, John Koprowski

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Abstract

We report observations and quantification of white nosed coatis (Nasua narica) using century plants (Agave palmeri) as a novel food source in Arizona. After observing a female coati eating in century plants, we inspected all flowering century plants in areas of coati activity for presence of scratch marks. Use of agaves by coatis was relatively common. Coatis climbed plants with large diameter at breast height relative to unscratched plants, but did not preferentially use agaves based on height or number of flower aggregations. Agaves in areas of high coati activity were more likely to possess scratch marks. Flowering agaves contain nectar, pollen, and arthropod species, all of which likely provide nutrition. The opportunistic foraging and willingness of coatis to experiment with unique food sources might partially explain the expansive distribution of the species under a wide variety of ecological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-725
Number of pages4
JournalSouthwestern Naturalist
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

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