Abstract # 192:

Scheduled for Monday, September 15, 2014 11:30 AM-11:45 AM: Session 25 (Mary Gay) Oral Presentation


NUTRITIONAL ASPECTS OF THE SEASONAL DIET OF FREE-RANGING BLACK HOWLER MONKEY (ALOUATTA PIGRA) IN A FRAGMENTED HABITAT OF MEXICO

J. F. Aristizabal1, J. M. Rothman2, L. M. García-Feria1 and J. C. Serio-Silva1
1Instituto de Ecologia AC, Red de Biología y Conservación de Vertebrados, Carretera Antigua a Coatepec No 351, El Haya, Xalapa, Veracruz 91070, Mexico, 2Department of Anthropology, Hunter College, CUNY. NY, USA
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     Habitat fragmentation is a major threat for primates, since it is associated with low food availability, low tree species diversity, and lack of large feeding trees. Howler monkeys are known to persist in highly disturbed forest fragments, and it is interesting to consider how they meet their nutritional needs in these modified landscapes. We collected feeding observations (n=658 hours; n=46 full-day follows) of individuals in two Alouatta pigra groups in the small (2.7-4 ha) highly fragmented forests of Balancan, Mexico. We estimated the nutrient intake by estimating the mass of food ingested, the time spent feeding on these foods, and the nutrient and energetic content of foods that comprised 3% of the diet (58 samples from 16 plant species). The primary foods based on dry matter intake were: mature leaves (29%) and ripe fruits (32%). Macronutrients varied in the same food in the three different seasons, demonstrating the intraspecific variability in nutritional contents of food items. The mean daily energy intake for Alouatta pigra in Balancan (361 kJ/MBM/day) was just slightly higher than the requirements calculated for the genus (~355 kJ/MBM/day) and the mean of protein intake (3.97g/MBM/day) was less that the estimated requirements (4.9g/MBM/day). Our results suggest that nutritional constraints could be a long-term problem for howlers living in fragments and long-term studies are needed to assess their ability to cope with these challenges.