Abstract # 869 Poster # 61:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation


DISCRIMINATIVE FEEDING ON LEGUMES BY MANTLED HOWLER MONKEYS (ALOUATTA PALLIATA) MAY SELECT FOR PERSISTENCE

C. B. Jones1,2,3
1Fayetteville State University, 251 Crestview Road, Southern Pines, NC 28387, USA, 2Community Conservation, Inc., 3Theoretical Primatology Project (TPP)
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     Legumes are important to mantled howler monkeys as sources of food. Consistent with an earlier study showing that mantled howlers were likely to feed on Pithecolobium saman flowers at flower-opening time, the present report provides evidence for the same pattern for Andira inermis. Using a “focal tree” observational method, one group of monkeys (N = 18 adults) inhabiting riparian habitat of Costa Rican tropical dry forest were observed utilizing 3 individual A. inermis from 30 March – 10 April 1976. Monkeys were more likely to feed during hours of peak flower-opening, including peak pollen and nectar production (individuals/h: Chi Square “goodness of fit,” P < 0.05). These observations suggest that, in addition to flowers, fruit, and leaves, pollen and nectar may be important food sources for mantled howlers. Heavy concentrations of bees interfered with access to flowers, requiring the monkeys to persist for as long as 3 h before beginning to feed after bee activity had diminished. Interspecific interactions, then, may select for “persistence,” “patience,” or “impulse control.” “Persistence” may be a signature of primates and other social mammals and may be favored by any conditions in which local competition occurs for limiting resources.