Diet of Buffy Tufted-Eared Marmosets (Callithrix aurita) in a Forest Fragment in Southeastern Brazil
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- Martins, M.M. & Setz, E.Z.F. International Journal of Primatology (2000) 21: 467. doi:10.1023/A:1005491903220
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The feeding ecology of the Atlantic forest marmosets (Callithrix spp.) in southeastern Brazil is poorly known, and few studies have focused on buffy tufted-eared marmosets, Callithrix aurita. We determined the food items and investigated the seasonal variation in the diet of a group of four Callithrix aurita in a 17-ha semideciduous forest fragment in southern Minas Gerais State, Brazil. We recorded daily feeding activities between October 1994 and September 1995 using scan sampling at 5-min intervals. The marmosets devoted feeding time to gums (50.5%), fruits (11%), and animal prey (38.5%) in a total of 499 records. Plant resources comprised 27 species from 16 families. They used Acacia paniculata (Mimosoideae, Leguminosae), the main gum source (82%), year-round. Maclura tinctoria (Moraceae) was the fruit species that they consumed most (22%). The marmosets preyed on caterpillars (33%), katydids (5%), and homopterans (4%). Feeding on fruits varied seasonally and was inversely related to gum feeding. Consumption of animal prey remained constant over the year. The wide and year-round dependence on gum suggests that Acacia may play a critical role in marmoset persistence in forest fragments.