, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 19–24 | Cite as

Are rainforest owl monkeys cathemeral? Diurnal activity of black-headed owl monkeys, Aotus nigriceps, at Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru

  • Shenaz N. KhimjiEmail author
  • Giuseppe Donati
News and Perspectives


Members of the genus Aotus are traditionally considered strictly nocturnal, however, in recent years cathemeral habits have been described in a single species of owl monkey, Aotus azarai, which occur in the highly seasonal habitat of the Argentinean Chaco. This finding raises the question as to whether other species of Aotus exhibit cathemeral activity in less seasonal habitats. In this study, we observed the diurnal activity of one group of A. nigriceps living in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru over 65 days. The data collected indicate that A. nigriceps has only sporadic diurnal bouts of activity. In addition, nocturnal luminosity of the previous night, rainfall, and temperature did not correlate with the minor diurnal activity exhibited. This suggests that for A. nigriceps the potential costs of shifting to diurnality may outweigh its prospective advantages in this rainforest environment.


Peruvian owl monkey Activity pattern Thermoregulation Moon phase Manu Biosphere Reserve 



We would like to thank Chris Kirkby for his contribution during the research. Thanks also to INRENA for permission to work within the MBR, Peru. We are grateful to Deborah Curtis and Richard Thomas for providing the software for the nocturnal luminosity analysis. Many thanks to Anna Nekaris and Simon Bearder for their support during this research and insightful discussions. A special thanks to Chris Wallbank and Romeo Corisepa Dreve for their invaluable assistance in the field. Finally we would like to thank Quinn Meyer for providing access to the MLC. SN Khimji was supported by a scholarship from the CREES Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nocturnal Primate Research Group, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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