Fruit Choice by Woolly Monkeys in Tinigua National Park, Colombia
- Cite this article as:
- Stevenson, P.R. International Journal of Primatology (2004) 25: 367. doi:10.1023/B:IJOP.0000019157.35464.a0
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I combined morphological fruit data, phenological, and demographic information for 128 plant species, with nutritional information for 78 species, to assess feeding preferences of woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha lugens) in Tinigua National Park, Colombia. I used multiple and simple regression analyses to predict fruit feeding time and one index of fruit preference from 20 independent variables presumed to affect fruit choice. The results of the independent regressions indicated a trend to spend more time consuming good tasting fruits from abundant plants that produce large quantities of fruits and produce large crops. Among these variables, abundant fruit production and the astringency index are the most important variables explaining feeding times when other variables are statistically controlled in a multiple regression analysis. Furthermore, the preference index showed that woolly monkeys prefer fruits from large trees that produce in periods of fruit scarcity, with high pulp/seed ratios, low lipid contents, and clumped spatial distributions. The results suggest that woolly monkeys are primarily generalized, opportunistic frugivores that avoid some fruits with secondary compounds. Their feeding behavior is determined by many factors, but the predictive power of each one is always low (<15%). No multiple regression model explained >69% of the variation in feeding time. I suggest that a detailed quantification of secondary compounds might increase the predictive power of the models to explain fruit choice by frugivorous primates.