, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 281-285
Date: 10 Aug 2005

Seismic activity response as observed in mantled howlers (Alouatta palliata), Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, Honduras

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Abstract

This report documents the response of wild mantled howlers (Alouatta palliata) to coseismic activity (seismic activity at the time of an earthquake). During field work on the north coast of Honduras, data were collected on a habituated troop of mantled howlers as they responded to coseismic activity. The seismic event occurred on 13 February 2001 at 0822 hours local time with a magnitude of Richter scale 6.6, focus depth of approximately 15 km at a distance of 341 km from the epicentre to the field site, Cuero y Salado. At the field site, based upon Jeffreys and Bullen (1988), body waves, noted as P and S waves, arrived at 60 and 87 s, respectively, with surface waves arriving approximately 103 s post-origin time of the seismic event. While there are three reports on non-human primate response to coseismic activity in the literature, they report on captive non-human primates. This is the first documented response on a non-captive troop. In addition, this report compares the intensity measure encountered by a wild troop of howlers and one captive group of orangutans as set out by the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale. The Modified Mercalli measure of intensity is one of two standard measures of seismic activity and rates what a person sees and feels at their location (Wood and Neumann 1931; Richter 1958). Thus, arboreal nonhuman primates are found to respond to coseismic activity ranging from Level IV to Level VI as based upon the modified Mercalli intensity scale.