Diet and Feeding Ecology of Woolly Monkeys in a Western Amazonian Rain Forest
Author: Fiore A.D.
Source: International Journal of Primatology, Volume 25, Number 4, August 2004 , pp. 767-801(35)
Abstract:I investigated the diet and feeding ecology of two social groups of woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii) in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador between April 1995 and March 1996. Woolly monkeys in Yasuní were predominantly frugivorous, with fruits comprising ca. 77% of the yearly diet; the next most common food type in the diet was insect and other animal prey. The fruit diet of woolly monkeys in Yasuní is the most diverse yet recorded for any ateline primate, including spider monkeys (Ateles), which are often regarded as ripe fruit specialists: 208 distinct morphospecies of fruits were consumed by woolly monkeys either during the study or during several preceding months of pilot work. Nonetheless, close to one-third of the yearly diet came from just 3 plant generaInga, Ficus, and Spondiasand only 20 genera each contributed to 1% of the diet. For one study group, the proportion of ripe fruit in the diet each month was correlated with the habitat-wide availability of this resource, a pattern evidenced by several other ateline species. However, the relationship was not apparent in the second study group. The modal party size for feeding bouts on all food types was a single monkey, and, contrary to reports for other atelines, neither feeding party size nor the total number of feeding minutes that groups spent in food patches was well predicted by patch size. Both results highlight the independent nature of woolly monkey foraging. Given that woolly monkeys and closely-related spider monkeys focus so heavily on ripe fruits, their very different patterns of social organization are intriguing and raise the question of just how their ecological strategies differ. Two important differences appear to be in the use of animal prey and in the phytochemical composition of the ripe fruits that they consume: spider monkeys rarely forage for animal prey, and woolly monkeys seldom consume the lipid-rich fruits that are an important part of spider monkey diets.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2004-08-01