Mountain Lions and Beetles

In an earlier post, we talked about ecosystem engineers. Do you recall what those are? According to a recent post by a researcher with Panthera, ecosystem engineers are “animals that create or modify habitat in ways that increase biodiversity.” They cited beavers as the classic example. But what about mountain lions (Puma concolor)? Sure, mountain lions are apex predators — a top predator in the food chain — but do they actually increase biodiversity? 

As it turns out, they do!

Mountain lions, also called pumas, often abandon large portions of their prey for one reason or another. Perhaps they were scared off by a competitor or maybe even a person, but the end result is the same. The remains of their prey are eventually claimed by another hungry passerby, or two, or three, … or several. In fact, many different species benefit from a mountain lion kill!

From birds, to bears, to even the lowliest beetle, mountain lions provide meals for many. As a result, there is an apparent increase in species richness, or the number of different species represented in an area.

Want to know more? You can read the entire article here!

Denise Peterson

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