Activity budget, home range and diet of the Colombian night monkey (Aotus lemurinus) in peri-urban forest fragments

Abstract

Forest fragmentation and deforestation are major threats to primates at a global scale. The survival of primates in forest fragments largely depends on their behavioral and dietary flexibility, as well as their ability to use a modified matrix in anthropogenic landscapes, hence the importance of determining these ecological parameters in habitats with strong anthropic interventions. This paper aims to describe the activity budget and diet of two groups of the Colombian night monkey (Aotus lemurinus) and to estimate their home range in two peri-urban forest fragments in the city of Manizales, Colombia. We combined scan sampling and handheld GPS fixes in order to determine the behavioral, dietary and spatial patterns of the study groups. Night monkeys spent most of their time resting and traveling and were mainly frugivorous relying on at least 26 plant species in their diet. The most consumed plants included Persea americana, Cecropia angustifolia, Musa x paradisiaca, Cecropia telenitida, and Croton cf. mutisianus. Two of these plants are cultivated species and can provide important resources for populations in small forest fragments. Home range sizes were estimated at 1.7 to 1.8 hectares, using a grid count method. Our results suggest the potential adaptability that these primates have when exposed to anthropogenic habitat disturbances and habitat degradation. Nonetheless, future studies should evaluate the influence of demographic factors and resource availability on the behavioral, dietary and spatial patterns of A. lemurinus in peri-urban forests, in order to further understand their ability to cope with the pervasive processes of habitat fragmentation in the northern Andes.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the community of the Campo Hermoso and San Isidro neighborhoods and the University of Manizales for the access to the study area. Our gratitude to Luis Carlos García, Alejandra Castaño and Juan Felipe León, for their assistance during the fieldwork. We also thank Nestor Roncancio for statistical advice and comments on the manuscript, and Leidy Carolina García for recommendations in the home range estimation methods. Daniela López Getial helped us in identifying the plants consumed by our study groups. We also thank Héctor E. Ramírez-Chaves, Sam Shanee and two anonymous reviewers for revisions and comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by the Fundación Proyecto Primates in Colombia.

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Bustamante-Manrique, S., Botero-Henao, N., Castaño, J.H. et al. Activity budget, home range and diet of the Colombian night monkey (Aotus lemurinus) in peri-urban forest fragments. Primates (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-021-00895-w

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Keywords

  • Night monkey
  • Behavior
  • Conservation
  • Deforestation
  • Ecology