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Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales

Print version ISSN 0370-3908


STEVENSON, Pablo R.; BELTRAN, Marta L.; QUINONES, Marcela J.  and  AHUMADA, Jorge A.. Differences in home range, activity patterns and diet of red howler monkeys in a continuous forest and a forest fragment in Colombia. Rev. acad. colomb. cienc. exact. fis. nat. [online]. 2015, vol.39, n.153, pp.503-513. ISSN 0370-3908.

Howler monkeys, genus Alouatta, are recognized as one of the most resistant primates to forest fragmentation. In this study a comparison of the home range, activity and diet of red howler monkeys (A. seniculus) was made between a continuous forest and a fragment in Meta, Colombia (Tinigua Park and Santa Rosa farm, respectively). Data was gathered on focal animals for 4-5 days per month, over 13 months in the continuous forest, and for six months in a 21-ha fragment. Home range areas were larger in the continuous forest. Resting was the most frequent activity in both places (58-59%), but individuals in the continuous forest moved more than those in the fragment (15 vs. 9%). In contrast, feeding was less frequent in the continuous forest (23 vs. 31%). Consumption of leaves was higher in the fragment (67%) than in the continuous forest (56%), contrasting with the pattern found for ripe fruit consumption (fragment: 32%, continuous forest: 44%). Results from phenological transects indicate that fruits were consumed in proportion to their abundance; however, the same was not true for young leaves. Due to increased production and tree species diversity, the number of fruit species consumed in the continuous forest was greater than in the fragment. No differences were found in feeding rates among group members, suggesting an egalitarian society in terms of resource acquisition. Results from this study show that fragmentation affects home range, moving patterns, and diet composition. Overall, the dietary and behavioral flexibility shown by howler monkeys allow them to live in fragments, and it is suggested that this is more likely in areas with high productivity and few competitors.

Keywords : Alouatta seniculus; ecological traits; feeding strategies; group size; Tinigua National Park.

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