Camera trapping on and off trails in lowland forest of eastern ecuador: Does location matter?

John G. Blake, Diego Mosquera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Camera traps are increasingly important in studies of mammals throughout the world. Typically, cameras are placed along trails or other travel routes. Yet, species composition and photographic rate may differ between cameras set along trails and those set off trails. We tested this idea in eastern Ecuador. Pairs of cameras were placed at 10 locations along narrow (< 1 m wide) trails in lowland forest and approximately 50 m away from trail sites in adjacent forest. Excluding people, there was little difference in total number of records between trail (333 photographs, 506 trap days) and off-trail sites (306 photographs, 509 trap days). Capture rates varied among locations (11 to 148/100 trap days on trails; 19 to 217/100 trap days off trails) and were not correlated between pairs of cameras on and off trails (r = 0.37, P = 0.29). People were only photographed along trails but capture rates of other species on trails were not correlated with numbers of people photographed at the same site (r = -0.10, P > 0.75). Twenty-three species were photographed, including 21 on trails and 22 off trails; Panthera onca was only photographed along trails whereas Tinamus major and Priodontes maximus were only photographed off trails. Species accumulation curves were similar for both sets of cameras; in both cases, curves approached an asymptote after about 200 records. Latency to first detection (LTD) varied from < 1 day (e.g., Mazama americana in trail and off-trail cameras) to 294 days (Procyon cancrivorus in on-trail cameras). Overall, LTD values were correlated between pairs of cameras on and off trails (rs = 0.66, P < 0.01); means did not differ between cameras on and off trails. Species composition varied among trap locations but trail and off-trail cameras did not form distinct groups based on species composition.

Translated title of the contributionTrampeo con cámaras dentro y fuera de senderos en bosques bajos del este de Ecuador: ¿importa la ubicación?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalMastozoologia Neotropical
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Activity
  • Mammals
  • Photographic rate
  • Tropical forests
  • Yasuní


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