International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 184–207

Do Forest Composition and Fruit Availability Predict Demographic Differences Among Groups of Territorial Owl Monkeys (Aotus azarai)?

  • Griëtte van der Heide
  • Eduardo Fernandez-Duque
  • David Iriart
  • Cecilia Paola Juárez

DOI: 10.1007/s10764-011-9560-5

Cite this article as:
van der Heide, G., Fernandez-Duque, E., Iriart, D. et al. Int J Primatol (2012) 33: 184. doi:10.1007/s10764-011-9560-5


Small-scale ecological variables, such as forest structure and resource availability, may affect primate groups at the scale of group home ranges, thereby influencing group demography and life-history traits. We evaluated the complete territories of 4 groups of owl monkeys (Aotus azarai), measuring and identifying all trees and lianas with a diameter at breast height ≥10 cm (n = 7485). We aimed to determine all food sources available to each of those groups and to relate food availability to group demographics. For analyses, we considered the core areas of the home range separately from the 80% home range. Our results showed that groups occupy territories that differ in size, species evenness, stem density, and food species’ stem abundances. The territories differed in the availability of fruits, flowers, and leaves, and most fruit sources were unevenly distributed in space. Differences among territories were more pronounced for the whole range than they were for the core areas. Despite marked differences among territories in structure and food availability, the number of births and age at natal dispersal were quite similar, but 1 group had a consistently lower group size. Our results suggest that owl monkey groups occupy territories of different structure and composition and food availability, yet ones that contain similar quantities of, mostly, dry season fruit sources. We propose that groups inhabit these territories to overcome food shortages safely during limiting periods, specifically the dry season, in this markedly seasonal forest. The occupancy and defense of territories with strict boundaries may therefore be associated with food resources available during limiting seasons that may be the ones influencing life history patterns and demographics.


Aotus azaraiDemographyFood availabilityForest structure and compositionLife history

Supplementary material

10764_2011_9560_MOESM1_ESM.doc (42 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Griëtte van der Heide
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eduardo Fernandez-Duque
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • David Iriart
    • 5
  • Cecilia Paola Juárez
    • 1
  1. 1.Fundación ECOFormosaArgentina
  2. 2.San AntonioUSA
  3. 3.CECOAL-ConicetCorrientesArgentina
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Universidad Nacional del NordesteCorrientesArgentina