, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 719-749

Feeding Ecology of Black-headed Uacaris (Cacajao melanocephalus melanocephalus) in Pico da Neblina National Park, Brazil

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Abstract

From June 1994 to October 1995, I conducted a study of the feeding ecology of one group of black-headed uacaris (Cacajao melanocephalus melanocephalus) in Pico da Neblina National Park, Brazil, near the Venezuelan border (01°10′N to 00°26′S, 65°03′W to 66°52′W). Of a total of 429 feeding records, 89% corresponded to fruits from which black-headed uacaris ate ripe and unripe seeds, mesocarps and arils. Seeds were the single most important food item year-around, corresponding to 81% of the feeding records for fruits. Black-headed uacaris used 120 different plant species in 32 families as food. The 3 most important plant species in their diet, Micrandra spruceana, Eperua leucantha, and Hevea braziliensis (all trees), accounted for 38% of the feeding records for fruits. These species produced fruits that were protected by very hard green husks, were barochorous, did not have fleshy mesocarps, and were slow to mature, thus being available as unripe fruits for long periods. The second and third most important species in the diet of black uacaris, Eperua leucantha and Hevea braziliensis, were dominant in the forest: approximately 30% of trees ≥10 cm dbh sampled in a 2-ha botanical transect at the study site. I discuss the formation of large social groups of black-headed uacaris in Pico da Neblina National Park in light of the peculiar floristic composition of the study site.