Abstract # 2575 Poster # 43:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


BROMELIAD USE IN WILD GOLDEN-HEADED LION TAMARINS (LEONTOPITHECUS CHRYSOMELAS): CONTINUED EVIDENCE OF THEIR MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP

B. E. Raboy1,2 and T. Fontoura3
1Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Department of Conservation and Science, Washington, DC 20008, USA, 2Instituto de Estudos Socioambientais do Sul da Bahia, 3Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz
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Epiphytic bromeliads are key lion tamarin resources, used for food and shelter. In comparison to other primates, lion tamarins have long hands relative to arm length, facilitating manipulative foraging. Lion tamarins often forage between the leaf axils of bromeliads searching for animal prey. They also eat fruit from Aechmea species requiring manual dexterity to remove embedded sections from a tough core. Previous work suggested lion tamarins are important dispersers of bromeliad seeds. In this study we elucidate the role of bromeliads in golden-headed lion tamarin (GHLT) ecology. Specifically we investigated the frequency of bromeliad fruit relative to total fruit consumption, bromeliad manipulating relative to total animal prey searching time, and bromeliad use as sleeping shelters. We studied five groups of GHLTs in Una Biological Reserve from 1998-2005. For the two longest-studied groups, bromeliad fruit averaged 4.3% of total fruit foraging and bromeliad manipulation for animal prey represented 72.6% of the total manipulation scans. Bromeliads were chosen as sleeping sites only 5 times in over 400 incidents. Bromeliad fruit use was punctuated throughout the year but bromeliads were used continuously for animal prey. Although bromeliad fruit use was infrequent when averaged over longer time periods, when ripe, groups spent lengthy periods eating them [up to 95min/bout] and bromeliads were always critical prey sources. Our work continues to support an important, mutually beneficial relationship between these taxa.