Movement and resource use by a group of Alouatta pigra in a forest fragment in Balancán, México
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Uncommonly observed behaviors were systematically recorded in a troop (n = 9 individuals) of black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) inhabiting a small forest fragment (1.7 ha) in Leona Vicario, Balancán, Tabasco, Mexico. Between February 2002 and January 2003 (n = 499 h), we observed behaviors such as ground travel (85 occasions, total = 269 min/10.8% of total locomotion time), ground foraging (eight occasions, total = 50 min/0.84% of total feeding time) and drinking water pooled in tree holes (20 times, total = 93 min/0.31% of total activity time). Total time (412 min) for these non-resting behaviors (feeding and locomotion on the ground) is almost equivalent to time devoted to social activities (420 min). These behaviors indicate that howler monkeys may be responding to pressures imposed by the small size of the fragment by adopting diverse strategies to cover their basic nutritional needs in this environment. They accomplish this while exposing themselves to potential predation by coyotes (Canis latrans), as was observed once during the study. It is likely that these behaviors are occurring at an increasing rate among monkeys in fragmented landscapes.