The value of indigenous range data for an invasive species, the crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata)
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Marwell Wildlife
Faculty of science of Tunis
University of Southampton
Online publication date: 2023-08-07
Publication date: 2023-08-07
Corresponding author
Mohamed Khalil Meliane   

Marwell Wildlife
The crested porcupine is an invasive species in Italy with a growing population and an expanding range. Whilst the species is mainly nocturnal, it has been observed diurnally throughout the year in Italian habitats. Research has attributed these observations to foraging requirements in daylight hours especially in periods when nights are shorter and primary production is more limited. This implied that crested porcupines are under trophic and physiological stress in Italy, which contradicts with their observed demographic and spatial expansion. Here we use data collected over 30,765 camera days by camera-trap grids within the species’ indigenous range in two Tunisian semi-arid national parks where primary productivity is limited. We postulated that if the foraging hypothesis was accurate, we would record diurnal activity of crested porcupines in our resource-scarce study sites as the species increases active foraging hours to fulfil its trophic requirements. Analyses however revealed exclusively nocturnal activity patterns in the studied sites in Tunisia, thus contrasting with the foraging hypothesis. Our results indicate that the species is not under stress in Italian ecosystems and diurnal mobility is likely limited to basking, grooming, etc. in the near vicinity of burrow entrances.
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