MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: Are lions and leapords 2 keystone predators in the same ecosystem?

Date: Tue Sep 23 12:32:17 2003
Posted By: Clare Williams, Graduate, Environmental Biology Bsc.Currently working as a zoo education officer.
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 1064273909.En

I've been pondering your question and from what I know about lions and 
leopards I am guessing the following. Leopards are generally solitary 
hunters with wide ranging food sources, eating anything from large 
ungulates to rodents, and they are also found in many different habitats. 
lions however are usually pack hunters and scavengers, even (I read 
somewhere) stealing food from leopards, they are also more limited in the 
habitats they can survive in. So I think that the 2 predators are very 
different which enables them to coexist, also since they aren't limited to 
only one food source if the lions eat the larger animals the leopards can 
survive on smaller prey. If you think about it lions and leopards are 
scarce anyway due to hunting so would they really encounter each other 
that often. The theory that there can only be one keystone species is a 
theory to be tested and I'm sure there are many other ecosystems that have 
more than one top predator. Of course we are forgetting that the top 
predator in the world is man!

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