Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Nicholson KL, Krausman PR, Munguia-Vega A, and Culver M. 2011. Spatial and temporal interactions of sympatric mountain lions in Arizona. European Journal of Wildlife Management, DOI: 10.1007/s10344-011-0528-8


Spatial and temporal interactions among individual members of populations can have direct applications to habitat management of mountain lions. Our objectives were to evaluate home range overlap and spatial/temporal use of overlap zones (OZ) of mountain lions (Puma concolor) in Arizona. We incorporated spatial data with genetic analyses to assess relatedness between mountain lions with overlapping home ranges. We recorded the space use patterns of 29 radio-collared mountain lions in Arizona from August 2005 to August 2008. We genotyped 28 mountain lions and estimated the degree of relatedness among individuals. For 26 pairs of temporally overlapping mountain lions, 18 overlapped spatially and temporally and 8 had corresponding genetic information. Home range overlap ranged from 1.18-46.38% ( = 24.43, SE = 2.96). Male-male pairs were located within 1 km of each other on average, 0.04% of the time, whereas male-female pairs, on average were 3.0%. Two male-male pairs exhibited symmetrical spatial avoidance and 2 symmetrical spatial attractions to the OZ. We observed simultaneous temporal attraction in 3 male-male pairs and 4 male-female pairs. Individuals from Tucson were slightly related to one another within the population (n = 13, mean R = 0.0373 ± 0.0151) whereas lions from Payson (n = 6, mean R = -0.0079 ± 0.0356) and Prescott (n = 9, mean R = -0.0242 ± 0.0452) were not as related. Overall, males were less related to other males (n = 20, mean R = -0.0495 ± 0.0161) than females were related to other females (n = 8, mean R = 0.0015 ± 0.0839). Genetic distance was positively correlated with geographic distance (r2 = 0.22, P = 0.001). Spatial requirements and interactions influence social behavior and can play a role in determining population density.