The ocelot effect

Establishing the power force of the dominant mid-sized felid, the ocelot, as the major influence on the smaller tropical species population dynamics in the Neotropics – the ocelot effect!

The ocelot appears to be the species with the biggest influence on the Neotropical felid community dynamics, causing an increase or decrease of the smaller species populations – the “ocelot effect”

This finding matters for conservation efforts, as the smaller species protection will rely mostly outside protected areas.

The ocelot is subordinate to the jaguar and puma, yet its numbers do not seem to be affected by the presence of the apex predators. On the other hand, ocelot numbers do seem to impact those of the smaller cats. 

The ocelot effect on film:

The dominant mesopredator, the ocelot  (Leopardus pardalis), attempting to kill the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous).

Source: Unknown, from Instagram

How can the dominant predator affect its subordinate competitors: 

The potential of being killed alters the subordinate species' behavior. The ocelot exerts the same effect on the smaller cats.