Variability in core areas of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in a tropical dry forest in Costa Rica
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- Asensio, N., Schaffner, C.M. & Aureli, F. Primates (2012) 53: 147. doi:10.1007/s10329-011-0288-9
Core areas are highly used parts of the home range on which the survival of solitary or group-living animals depends. We investigated the home range and core area size and area fidelity of a spider monkey community in a tropical dry forest over a 4-year period. Home ranges overlapped extensively across years, subgroup sizes, and seasons. In contrast, spider monkeys used core areas that varied in size and location across the study years, subgroup sizes, and seasons. These shifts in core areas suggest that the understanding of core areas, and thus the spatial requirements, of a species in a particular habitat may be limited if based on short-term studies. In this respect, our findings emphasize the importance of long-term studies of the spatial ecology of any species in a particular habitat. Our study also shows that the yearly home range basically includes all the core areas from different years, seasons, and subgroup sizes (i.e., the super-core area). This is conceptually important for territorial species, such as spider monkeys, which defend a stable home range as it contains not only the current, but also the future core areas.