Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1175–1182 | Cite as

Fragmentation causes rarity in common marmosets in the Atlantic forest of northeastern Brazil

  • Antonio R. Mendes Pontes
  • Iran C. Normande
  • Amaro C. A. Fernandes
  • Patrícia F. Rosas Ribeiro
  • Marina L. Soares
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to investigate the population status of the common marmosets, Callithrix jacchus, in one of their main habitats, the northeastern Atlantic forest of Brazil, where only 2% of its original area remains as small and isolated forest fragments, to determine long-term viable populations. The study was carried out in 15 forest fragments, measuring from 3,478.3 ha (the largest) to 6 ha, which were invariably subjected to high human impact. Line transect surveys were carried out between January 2002 and December 2004, along transects measuring from 350 to 4,000 m, between 0500 h and 0900 h. Common marmosets were registered in 73% (n = 11) of the forest fragments, were not recorded in the largest one, the Coimbra Forest, and group sizes varied from 1 to 4 individuals. A negative significant relationship was detected between the size of the fragment and the number of sightings of common marmosets. It is shown that the number of groups of common marmosets dwelling in this highly impacted landscape is nowadays lower than necessary for long-term survival. Additionally, smaller fragments having more groups suggests that they live in total association with humans, which assure their subsistence through the supply of introduced and exotic foods.


Common marmosets Surveys Northeastern Atlantic forest of Brazil Fragmentation Rareness 



We would like to thank M. Tabarelli and J. M. C. da Silva for crucial logistics and financial assistance through Conservation International – CI and Centro de Pesquisas Ambientais do Nordeste, Brazil – CEPAN. The Fundação O Boticário de Proteção à Natureza, Fundação Botânica Margaret Mee, The British Ecological Society – UK, Conselho Nacional de Pesquisas – CNPQ, Brazil, The Ministério do Meio Ambiente – Projeto Probio, Brazil, kindly financed this study. M. Tabarelli, N. Schiel, C. Knogge and L. Marsh made important suggestions on the last draft. We are greatly indebted to the owners and heads of Serra Grande, Frei Caneca, and Gurjaú for their permission to carry out this study in their properties, and to J. Alves and J. C. Baker for their assistance during fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio R. Mendes Pontes
    • 1
  • Iran C. Normande
    • 1
  • Amaro C. A. Fernandes
    • 2
  • Patrícia F. Rosas Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Marina L. Soares
    • 1
  1. 1.Depto. ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de Pernambuco, CCBRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente-IBAMARecifeBrazil

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