, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 515-531
Date: 22 May 2009

Travel and Spatial Patterns Change When Chiropotes satanas chiropotes Inhabit Forest Fragments

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Abstract

Previous studies have used home range size to predict a species’ vulnerability to forest fragmentation. Northern bearded saki monkeys (Chiropotes satanas chiropotes) are medium-bodied frugivores with large home ranges, but sometimes they reside in forest fragments that are smaller than the species’ characteristic home range size. Here we examine how travel and spatial patterns differ among groups living in forest fragments of 3 size classes (1 ha, 10 ha, and 100 ha) versus continuous forest. We collected data in 6 research cycles from July–August 2003 and January 2005–June 2006 at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP), north of Manaus, Brazil. For each cycle, we followed the monkeys at each study site from dawn until dusk for 3 consecutive days, and recorded their location. Although bearded saki monkeys living in 10-ha and 1-ha fragments had smaller day ranges and traveled shorter daily distances, they traveled greater distances than expected based on the size of the forest fragment. Monkeys in the small fragments revisited a greater percentage of feeding trees each day, traveled in more circular patterns, and used the fragments in a more uniform pattern than monkeys in the continuous forest. Our results suggest that monkeys in the small fragments maximize their use of the forest, and that the preservation of large tracts of forest is essential for species conservation. Species with large home ranges sometimes inhabit forest fragments, but doing so can alter behavior, demographics, and ecology, and the monkeys may be vulnerable to stochastic events.