Student Prize Award Abstract
2003 Poster Paper Honorable Mention
FEEDING ECOLOGY OF THE BLACK HOWLER MONKEY (ALOUATTA PIGRA) IN CALAKMUL, MEXICO.
A. Rivera and S. Calmé El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Carr. Chetumal-Bacalar Km. 2, A.P. 424, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, 77000, Mexico
Information on feeding habits and food selection is critical to species conservation, particularly in the context of forest landscapes heavily transformed by human activities. This study aims at determining if feeding habits of A. pigra are different between conserved and fragmented sites, and how monkeys select the trees on which they feed. Two study sites were located within the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve (CBR), and two more in its area of influence. A total of 336 hours of scan sampling data were collected over a seven month period, during which we recorded the plan parts that were consumed by all troop members. To evaluate how trees upon which monkeys feed differ from those on which they do not, we established parcels of 10 m-radius around the trees where the majority of monkeys was feeding. Within parcels, we determined the diameter (dbh), height, species and phenology of all trees >10 cm dbh. Contingency table analysis revealed that trees selected for feeding were >20 cm dbh, and >18 m-high, thus pertaining to the dominant canopy strata. In CBR monkeys consumed mostly buds and fruits of Ficus maxima, which is more common here than in forest remnants. Out of CBR monkeys consumed primarily leaves of breadnut tree (Brosimum alicastrum). We can expect black howler monkeys to sustain themselves adequately in remnants, because Brosimum remains very common.