The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Feeding ecology of Gray’s bald-faced saki monkey (Pithecia irrorata) during a single dry season in southeastern Perú


1Anthropology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 2Anthropology, The Ohio State University

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With a few notable exceptions (e.g. Pithecia pithecia, Norconk 1996), relatively little is known about feeding ecology and diet variation among Pitheciine primates. We report on the feeding ecology of Pithecia irrorata, which has only been the subject of one such study to date (Palmenteri et al. 2012). Our goal was to contribute to a broader understanding of Pitheciine feeding biology by reporting on feeding flexibility in Pithecia irrorata in response to seasonal availability of food resources. From June 14 to July 21 2012, we observed a group of 8 Gray’s bald-faced saki monkeys (Pithecia irrorata) at the Centro de Investigación y Capacitación Rio Los Amigos (CICRA) in the Madre de Dios region of Perú. We collected 78.33 hours of group scans at 10 minute intervals, in which we recorded ranging behavior, habitat type, topographic relief, and canopy height. Concomitantly, we collected 77.26 hours of continuous group activity and feeding data. During the majority of scans, the group utilized terra firme forest at the top edges of ravines and occupied a canopy height of 25 m. They spent the majority of their time feeding and focused 52% of feeding minutes on unripe seeds only, 32% on pulp and seeds, 12% on insects, 3% on flowers, and >1% on leaves. Insect consumption was greater than previously reported, suggesting the possibility of a seasonal shift in resource use. This study provides new data on the feeding ecology of a little known species and allows us greater insight into their natural history.

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