muhammad zaman

and 5 more

The nocturnal activities of predators and prey are influenced by several factors, including physiological adaptations, habitat quality and, we suspect, corresponds to changes in brightness of moonlight according to moon phase. In this study, we used a dataset from 102 camera traps to explore which factors are related with the activity pattern of North China leopards (Panthera pardus japonensis) in Shanxi Tieqiaoshan Provincial Nature Reserve (TPNR), China. We found that nocturnal activities of leopards were irregular during four different lunar phases, and while not strictly lunar philic or lunar phobic, their temporal activity was highest during the brighter moon phases (especially the last quarter) and lower during the new moon phase. On the contrary, roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) exhibited lunar philic activity, while wild boar (Sus scrofa) and Tolai hare (Lepus tolai) were evidently lunar phobic, with high and low temporal activity during the full moon, respectively. In terms of temporal overlap, that there was positive overlap between leopards and their prey species, including roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) and Tolai hare (Lepus tolai), while leopard activity did not dip to the same low level of wild boar during the full moon phase. Generally, our results suggested that besides moonlight risk index (MRI), cloud cover and season have diverse effects on leopard and prey nocturnal activity. Finally, distinct daytime and nighttime habitats were identified, with leopards, wild boar and Tolai hare all using lower elevations at night and higher elevations during the day, while leopards and roe deer were closer to secondary roads during the day than at night.