Abstract # 61:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation


Will Work for Food: Foraging Behavior of Owl Monkeys (Aotus nancymaae)

J. Rivera1, C. K. Wolovich2 and S. Evans3
1Florida International University, Department of Biology, Miami, FL, USA, 2University of Miami, 3DuMond Conservancy for Primates and Tropical Forests, Inc.
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     Owl monkeys (Aotus spp.) are known to forage for insects but this behavior has not been described. We observed captive owl monkeys (A. nancymaae) to identify the types of prey, the techniques of prey capture and whether there were any differences in foraging attempts and success rates between age/sex classes. Thirty-four monkeys housed in outdoor enclosures (DuMond Conservancy, Miami, FL) were observed from May to September 2006. We used focal animal sampling and recorded all foraging attempts during ten minute observation periods. During 26 hours of observation, there were 242 foraging attempts. Monkeys caught prey by grabbing them from the air or by clamping them on a substrate. Flying and crawling insects as well as spiders and millipedes were consumed. Overall mean rate of capture was 3.5 prey/hour. Adult females had a higher rate of attempts (mean = 11.1/hour) than adult males (mean = 5.1/hour) [Mann-Whitney U=108.5, p=0.004] and juveniles and infants had a higher rate of attempts (mean = 13.4/hour) than adults (mean = 7.5/hour) [U=56.5, p=0.004]. There were no differences in the proportion of attempts that were successful between the various age/sex classes [p>0.05]. Insect foraging is a regular part of owl monkey activity. Because females require more energy for reproduction and juveniles and infants are still growing, they may be highly motivated to consume insects.