, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 147–156 | Cite as

Variability in core areas of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in a tropical dry forest in Costa Rica

  • Norberto Asensio
  • Colleen M. Schaffner
  • Filippo Aureli
Original Article


Core areas are highly used parts of the home range on which the survival of solitary or group-living animals depends. We investigated the home range and core area size and area fidelity of a spider monkey community in a tropical dry forest over a 4-year period. Home ranges overlapped extensively across years, subgroup sizes, and seasons. In contrast, spider monkeys used core areas that varied in size and location across the study years, subgroup sizes, and seasons. These shifts in core areas suggest that the understanding of core areas, and thus the spatial requirements, of a species in a particular habitat may be limited if based on short-term studies. In this respect, our findings emphasize the importance of long-term studies of the spatial ecology of any species in a particular habitat. Our study also shows that the yearly home range basically includes all the core areas from different years, seasons, and subgroup sizes (i.e., the super-core area). This is conceptually important for territorial species, such as spider monkeys, which defend a stable home range as it contains not only the current, but also the future core areas.


Area fidelity Home range Seasonality Subgroup size 



We wish to thank Elvin Murillo-Chacon for the great support during the field study. We thank also all the staff from Santa Rosa National Park, especially Roger Blanco and Maria Marta Chavarria. This study was made possible due to the financial support of the Leakey Foundation, The North of England Zoological Society, and The British Academy. Norberto Asensio was supported by the Department of Political Science of the Basque Government (Zientzia Politikarako Zuzendaritza) and the Postdoc Fellowship program from Mahidol University, Thailand. We also thank all the valuable help and comments on GIS provided by Melanie Luinstra, Scott Wilson, Anne Marie Nuttall, Felix Eigenbrod, Cristina Garcia, Liz Maher, Eduardo Ogando, Eric Willems, and Warren Brockelman. Our observations complied with current laws in Costa Rica.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norberto Asensio
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Colleen M. Schaffner
    • 4
    • 5
  • Filippo Aureli
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of Environment and Resource StudiesMahidol UniversitySalayaThailand
  2. 2.Conservation Genetics and Ecology GroupInstitute of Molecular Biosciences, Mahidol UniversitySalayaThailand
  3. 3.The Monitoring and Surveillance Center for Zoonotic Diseases in Wildlife and Exotic Animals, Faculty of Veterinary ScienceMahidol UniversitySalayaThailand
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ChesterChesterUK
  5. 5.Instituto de NeuroetologıaUniversidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico
  6. 6.Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and PsychologyLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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