International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 333–372 | Cite as

Diet and feeding ecology of gray woolly monkeys (lagothrix lagotricha cana) in Central Amazonia: Comparisons with other Atelines

  • Carlos A. Peres


I studied gray woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha cana)in an undisturbed central Amazonian terra firme forest, near the headwaters of the Urucu river, Tefé, Amazonas, Brazil (5°50’S, 65°16’W). I report the diet and feeding ecology of a group of 39–41 individuals, based on systematic feeding observations obtained during 11 months. Woolly monkeys are primarily frugivorous; mature fruits and young seeds account for 83 and 7% of 3298 feeding records, respectively. On a seasonal basis, however, they relied heavily on young foliage (16%), seed-pod exudates (6%), and flowers (3%), particularly during the greatest annual period of ripe fruit scarcity, as determined by a phenological survey. Animals represent only 0.1% of their year-round diet, and they spent little time capturing arthropods and other prey items. Although at least 225 plant species, belonging to 116 genera and 48 families, are in their diet, the three top-ranking families (Moraceae, Sapotaceae, and Leguminosae) account for 43% of their food species and 63% of the time they spent feeding on a year-round basis. I compare the feeding ecology and diet of L. 1. canain the Urucu and other taxa of Lagothrixin upper Amazonia — the last large-bodied Neotropical primates to be studied — to those of other ateline genera: Atelesand Brachyteles.

Key words

woolly monkeys Lagothrix lagotricha cana Atelinae diet terra firme forest 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, J. A. (1916). Mammals collected on the Roosevelt Brazilian Expedition, with field notes by Leo E. Miller.Bull Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 35: 559–610.Google Scholar
  2. Campbell, D. G., Daly, D. C., Prance, G. T., and Maciel, U. N. (1986). Quantitative ecological inventory of terra firme and várzea tropical forest on the Rio Xingú, Brazilian Amazon.Brittonia 38: 369–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chapman, C. A. (1987). Flexibility in the diets of there species of Costa Rican primate.Folia Primatol. 49: 90–105.Google Scholar
  4. Chapman, C. A. (1989). Primate seed dispersal: the fate of dispersed seeds.Biotropica 21: 148–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chivers, D. J. (1974).The Siamang in Malaya, S. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  6. Clutton-Brock, T. H. (1975). Feeding behaviour of red colobus and black and white colobus in East Africa.Folia PrimatoL 23: 165–207.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cottam, G., and Curtis, J. T. (1956). The use of distance measurements in phyto-sociological sampling.Ecology 37: 451–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Defler, T. R. (1987). Ranging and use of space in a group of woolly monkeys(Lagothrix lagotricha) in the N.W. Amazon of Colombia.Int. J. PrimatoL 8: 420.Google Scholar
  9. Defler, T. R. (1989). Wild and woolly.Arum. King. Sept.Google Scholar
  10. Defler, T. R. (1993). GenusLagothrix, E. Geoffroy St. Hilaire (Atelinae, Cebidae, Platyrrhini):Logothrix lagotricha. Illustrated Monographs of Living Primates, Institut voor Ontwikkelingsopdrachten, The Netherlands (in press).Google Scholar
  11. Eaglen, R. H. (1984). Incisor size and diet revisited: The view from a platyrrhine perspective.Am. J. Phys. AnthropoL 65: 263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferrari, S. F., and Strier, K. B. (1992). Exploitation ofMabea fistulifera nectar by marmosets(Callithrix flaviceps) and muriquis(Brachyteles arachnoides) in south-east Brazil.J. Trop. Ecol. 8: 225–239.Google Scholar
  13. Fonseca, G. A. B. (1985). Observations on the ecology of the muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides E. Geoffroyi 1806): Implications for its conservation.Primate Conserv. 5: 48–52.Google Scholar
  14. Fooden, J. (1963). A revision of the woolly monkeys (genusLagothrix).J. Mammal. 44: 213–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Freese, C. H., Heltne, P. G., Castro, N., and Whitesides, G. (1982). Patterns and determinants of monkey densities in Peru and Bolivia with notes on distributions.Int. J. PrimatoL 3: 53–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freese, C. H., Heltne, P. G., Castro, N., and Whitesides, G. (1982). Patterns and determinants of monkey densities in Peru and Bolivia with notes on distributions.Int. J. Primatol. 3: 53–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gautier-Hion, A., and Michaloud, G. (1989). Are figs always keystone resources for topical frugivorous vertebrates? A test in Gabon.Ecology 70(6): 1826–1833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gentry, A. H. (1982). Patterns of neotropical plant species diversity.Evol. Biol. 15: 1–84.Google Scholar
  19. Gentry, A. H. (1990). Floristic similarities and differences between southern Central America and upper and central Amazonia. In Gentry, A. H. (ed.),Four Neotropical Rainforests, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, pp. 141–157.Google Scholar
  20. Grant, J. W. A., Chapman, C. A., and Richardson, K. S. (1992). Defended versus undefended home range size of carnivores, ungulates and primates.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 31: 149–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hernandez-Camacho, J., and Defler, T. R. (1985). Some aspects of the conservation of non-human primates in Colombia.Primate Conserv. 6: 42–50.Google Scholar
  22. Izawa, K. (1975). Foods and feeding behavior of monkeys in the upper Amazon basin.Primates 16: 295–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kavanagh, M., and Dresdale, L. (1975). Observations on the woolly monkey(Lagothrix lagotricha) in Northern Colombia.Primates 16: 285–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kinzey, W. G., and Norconk, M. A. (1990). Hardness as a basis of fruit choice in two sympatric primate.Am. J. Phys. AnthropoL 81: 5–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Klein, L. L., and Klein, D. J. (1977). Feeding behavior of the Colombian spider monkey. In Clutton-Brock, T. H. (ed.),Primate Ecology: Studies of Feeding and Ranging Behaviour in Lemurs, Monkeys and Apes, Academic Press, London, pp. 154–181.Google Scholar
  26. Lemos de Sá, R. M. (1988).Situaço de uma populaço de Mono Carvoeiro, Brachyteles arachnoides, em um fragmento de Mata Atlântica (M.G.) e implicaçespara sua conservaço, M.Sc. thesis, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, D.F.Google Scholar
  27. Lemos de Sá, R. M., and Glander, K. E. (1993). Capture techniques and morphometrics for the woolly spider monkey, or muriqui(Brachyteles arachnoides, E. Geoffroy 1806).Am. J. PrimatoL (in press).Google Scholar
  28. Malcolm, J. R. (1991).The Small Mammals of Amazonian Forest Fragments: Pattern and Process, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville.Google Scholar
  29. Milton, K. (1984a). The role of food processing factors in primate food choice. In Rodman, P. S., and Cant, J. G. H. (eds.),Adaptations for Foraging in Nonhuman Primates, Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 249–279.Google Scholar
  30. Milton, K. (1984b). Habitat, diet, and activity patterns of free-ranging woolly spider monkeys(Brachyteles arachnoides E. Geoffroy 1808).Int. J. PrimatoL 5: 491–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Milton, K. (1991). Leaf change and fruit production in six neotropical Moraceae species.J. Ecol. 79: 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Milton, K., and Nessimian, J. L. (1984). Evidence for insectivory in two primate species(Callicebus torquatus lugens andLagothrix lagotricha lagotricha) from northwestern Amazonia.Am. J. Primatol. 6: 367–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morellato, L. P. C. (1991).Estudo da Fenologia de Arvores, Arbustos e Lianas de uma Floresta Semidecldua no Sudeste do Brasil Ph.D. dissertation, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas.Google Scholar
  34. Mori, S. A., Boom, B. M., Carvalho, A. M., and dos Santos, T. S. (19833). Southern Bahian moist forests.Bot. Rev. 49(2): 155–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Napier, J. R., and Napier, P. H. (1967).A Handbook of Living Primates, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Neville, M. K., Glander, K. E., Braza, F., and Rylands, A. B. (1988). The howling monkeys, genus Alouatta. In Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B., Coimbra-Filho, A. F., and Fonseca, G. A. B. (eds.),Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, VoL 2, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, pp. 349–453.Google Scholar
  37. Nishimura, A. (1990). A socioecological and behavioral study of woolly monkeys,Lagothrix lagotricha, in the upper Amazon.Sci. Eng. Rev. Doshisha Univ. 31(2): 1–35.Google Scholar
  38. Nishimura, A., and Izawa, K. (1975). The group characteristics of woolly monkeys(Lagothrix lagotricha) in the upper Amazonian basin. In Kondo, S., Kawai, M., Ehara, A., and Kawamura, S. (eds.),Proceedings from the Symposia of the 5th Congress of the International Primatological Society, Japan Science Press, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  39. Nishimura, A., Fonseca, G. A. B., Mittermeier, R. A., Young, A. L., Strier, K. B., and Valle, C. M. C. (1988). The muriqui, genus Brachyteles. In Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B., Coimbra-Filho, A. F., and Fonseca, G. A. B. (eds.),Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol 2, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, pp. 577–610.Google Scholar
  40. Peres, C. A. (1990). Effects of hunting on western Amazonian primate communities.Biol. Conserv. 54: 47–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Peres, C. A. (1991a). Humboldt's woolly monkeys decimated by hunting in Amazonia.Oryz 25(2): 89–95.Google Scholar
  42. Peres, C. A. (1991b).Ecology of Mixed-Species Groups of Tamarins in Amazonian Terra Firme Forests, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  43. Peres, C. A. (1991c). Seed predation ofCariniana micrantha (Lecythidaceae) by brown capuchin monkeys in central Amazonia.Biotropica 23(3): 262–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Peres, C. A. (1992a). Structure and spatial organization of an Amazonian terra firme primate community (submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  45. Peres, C. A. (1992b). Primate responses to phenological changes in an Amazonian terra firme forest (submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  46. Peres, C. A. (1992c). Notes on the ecology and diet of buffy sakis(Pithecia albicans Gray 1860): A canopy seed predator (submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  47. Peres, C. A. (1993). Primates of the Juruá River, Western Brazilian Amazonia: Body weights, measurements, and notes on distributions.Foli Primatol. (in press).Google Scholar
  48. Peters, R. H. (1983).Ecological Implications of Body Size, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  49. Pielou, E. C. (1959). The use of point-to-plant distances in the study of the pattern of plant populations.J. EcoL 47: 607–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ramirez, M. (1980). Grouping patterns of the woolly monkey,Lagothrix lagotricha, at the Manu National Park, Peru.Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 52: 269.Google Scholar
  51. Ramirez, M. (1989). The woolly monkey, genusLagothrix. In Mittermeier, R. A., Rylands, A. B., Coimbra-Filho, A. F., and Fonseca, G. A. B. (eds.).Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol. 2, Academia Brasiliera de Ciencias, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 539–575.Google Scholar
  52. Robinson, J. G. (1986). Seasonal variation in use of time and space by the wedge-capped monkeyCebus olivaceus: Implications for foraging theory.Smith. Contrib. Zool. 431.Google Scholar
  53. Robinson, J. G., and Janson, C. H. (1987). Capuchins, squirrel monkeys, and Atelines: Socioecological convergence with old world primates. In Smuts, B. B., Cheney, D. L., Seyfarth, R. M., Wrangham, R. W., and Struhsaker, T. T. (eds.),Primate Societies, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  54. Rosenberger, A. L., and Strier, K. B. (1989). Adaptive radiation of the ateline primates.J. Hum. EvoL 18: 717–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Soini, P. (1986a). A synecological study of a primate community in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, Peru.Primate Conserv. 7: 63–71.Google Scholar
  56. Soini, P. (1986b). Informe preliminar de la ecologia y dinamica poblacional del “choro,”Lagothrix lagotricha (Primates).Informe Pacaya 20: 1–11.Google Scholar
  57. Soini, P. (1987a). Ecology ofLagothrix lagotricha on the Rio Pacaya, northeast Peru.Int. J. PrimatoL 8: 421.Google Scholar
  58. Soini, P. (1987b). La dita del mono choro(Lagothrix lagotricha).Informe Pacaya 23: 1–9,Google Scholar
  59. Stearns, M., White, B. C., Schneider, E., and Bean, E. (1988). Predation by captive woolly monkeys(Lagolhix lagotricha).Primates 29: 361–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stevenson, P. R., Quinones, M. J., and Ahumada, J. A. (1992). Relationships between fruit abundance and feeding strategies of four new world primates at La Macarena.Paper presented at the XlVth Congress of the International Primatological Society, Strasbourg, France.Google Scholar
  61. Strier, K. B. (1991a). Diet in one group of woolly spider monkeys, or muriquis(Brachyteles arachnoides).Am. J. Primatol. 23: 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Strier, K. B. (1991b). Demography and conservation of an endangered primate.Conserv. Biol. 5: 214–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Symington, M. M. (1987).Ecological and Social Correlates of Party Size in the Black Spider Monkey, Ateles paniscus chamek, Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  64. Symington, M. M. (1988). Food competition and foraging party size in the black spider monkey(Ateles paniscus chamek). Behaviour 105: 117–134.Google Scholar
  65. Terborgh, J. (1983). Five New World Primates: A Study in Comparative Ecology, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  66. Terborgh, J. (1986). Keystone plant resources in the tropical forest. In Soulé, M. E. (ed.),Conservative Biology, Academic Press, New York, pp. 330–344.Google Scholar
  67. Terborgh, J. (1992). Maintenance of diversity in tropical forests.Biotropica 24: 283–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. van Roosmalen, M. G. M. (1985a).Fruits of the Guianan Flora, Institut of Systematic Botany, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands,Google Scholar
  69. van Roosmalen, M. G. M. (1985b). Habitat preferences, diet, feeding strategy and social organization of the black spider monkey(Ateles paniscus paniscus Linnaeus 1758) in Surinam. Sup.Acta Amazon. 15: 1–238Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos A. Peres
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de ZoologiaMuseuGoeldiParáBrazil

Personalised recommendations