Duarte, H. de O. B., Norris, D., & Michalski, F. (2018). Assessment of Attractants for Neotropical Mammals. Tropical Conservation Science, 11, 194008291880066.
Mammals play important ecological roles in tropical regions but are difficult to study due to discrete habits, low population densities, and large home ranges. Thus, the use of attractive substances has frequently been adopted to quantify the distribution and abundance of elusive mammals. However, the insight generated from studies using attractants is often limited by a lack of methodological standardization. To inform the use of attractants in the Neotropics, we reviewed 30 years of the scientific literature that used some type of attractant in mammal studies. From a total of 60 studies, the majority (65%) did not use any control (or pseudocontrol) in their sampling design and only 40% used some statistical test to explicitly evaluate the efficiency of the attractant used. A wide range of edible (animal or vegetal origin) and inedible substances (e.g., scent lures) were used alone or in combination and the effects differed greatly among orders and species. Most studies (67%) targeted or registered carnivores, and this order had the largest number of substances (edible and inedible) used across all studies. There seems to be only a consensus in the use and attraction effect with frugivorous bats (Phyllostomidae) with fruits, essential oils, and floral compounds. The lack of standardization of use of attractants in mammal studies undermines the comparability of results among studies. We conclude with some general guidelines to maximize comparability among studies and to enhance the potential usefulness of the use of attractants for mammals.