Population Abundance and Range Use of Desmarest’s Hutia (Capromyidae: Capromys pilorides) in Southeastern Cuba
Authors: Israel D. Parker, Andrea E. Montalvo, Brian L. Pierce, Roel R. Lopez, George Kenny, Christopher Petersen, and Matthew Crawford
The Desmarest’s hutia (hereafter hutia, Capromys pilorides) is a rodent endemic to the Republic of Cuba (hereafter Cuba) and its associated islands. There is little recent research focused on hutia population abundance and range use in southeastern Cuba. We evaluated the current status of the hutia population in southeastern Cuba through (1) estimation of population density via walking and driving surveys, and (2) hutia spatial ecology via Global Positioning System (GPS) collars. Driving surveys indicated lower mean hutia density (¯x = 0.14 hutias/ ha) than walking transects (¯x = 1.13 hutias/ha). Three of 13 GPS-collared hutias provided sufficient data for range analyses as 10 hutias severely damaged their GPS units. Ranges were relatively small (50% Core Area, ¯x = 0.50 ha; 95% Range, ¯x = 2.63 ha) and individuals tended to stay very close to tree cover, only emerging at night to forage. We recommend continued monitoring of hutia populations due to their influence on rare vegetative communities and importance as a significant food source for the Cuban boa (Chilabothrus angulifer).
Parker, I.D., A.E. Montalvo, B.L. Pierce, R.R. Lopez, G. Kenny, C. Petersen, and M. Crawford. 2020. Population Abundance and Range Use of Desmarest’s Hutia (Capromyidae: Capromys pilorides) in Southeastern Cuba. Caribbean Journal of Science 50: 258-264.