Abstract # 8001 Poster # 37:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (National Ballroom AB) Poster Presentation


FEEDING PREFERENCES OF MANTLED HOWLER MONKEYS (ALOUATTA PALLIATA) BY TREE DIAMETER IN A FRAGMENTED FOREST OF COSTA RICA

D. G. Russell
American University, Department of Environmental Science, 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW , Washington, D.C. 20006, USA
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Feeding behaviors of the mantled howler monkey, Alouatta palliata, are widely documented in terms of their activity budgets and diet composition, but investigations of preferences based on tree maturity are lacking. This study focused on the relationship between feeding behavior and tree diameter at breast height (DBH) using focal animal point sampling techniques on multiple A. palliata groups in a forest fragment at the La Suerte Biological Reserve in Costa Rica in January 2017. I predicted that monkeys would most often feed in mature trees with a DBH of ≥3m. During 16 hours of data collection, animals were followed for 30 minutes with behaviors sampled at 30 second intervals. Trees were identified as feeding trees if focal animals fed in the same tree for ≥2 mins during sampling. A total of 32 individuals were sampled and 16 feeding trees were measured. 92.7% of observed feeding behaviors were performed in trees with DBH <3m, contradicting my prediction that A. palliata prefer to feed in large trees. The median tree diameter for individuals exhibiting feeding behavior was 1.67 m. Broader knowledge of A. palliata feeding preferences by tree maturity and other factors may inform habitat preservation and reforestation strategies. If A. palliata consistently feed in smaller, less mature trees, then efforts in habitat regrowth may be effective for A. palliata in relatively short time periods.