Cougar Predation on Black-and-Gold Howlers on Mutum Island, Southern Brazil1
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- Ludwig, G., Aguiar, L.M., Miranda, J.M.D. et al. Int J Primatol (2007) 28: 39. doi:10.1007/s10764-006-9103-7
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Researchers consider predation rates by terrestrial animals to be lower in the case of arboreal primates, particularly among large-bodied species. We recorded the consumption of black-and-gold howlers (Alouatta caraya) by cougars (Puma concolor) as evidence of predation on an island of the upper Paraná River. We collected and processed fecal samples of the felid in 2004 and 2005. We identified items in the laboratory by comparison with museum specimens. We considered each species in a fecal sample as a single occurrence. Based on analysis of the cuticle scale pattern, we identified the felid as cougar. Howlers occurred in 4 out of the 8 fecal samples (40% of the occurrences). In addition to howlers, we also recorded 5 occurrences of agouti (Dasyprocta azarae; 50%) and a small unidentified sigmodontine rodent (10%). The abundance of howlers and the low forest canopy in a successional vegetation might have facilitated the predation of the large primates by a primarily terrestrial predator. The versatility of cougars is corroborated by the consumption of prey species that were abundant in the region and that were available in different forest strata, such as howlers and agoutis.