Fatal attack on a Rylands' bald-faced saki monkey (Pithecia rylandsi) by a black-and-white hawk-eagle (Spizaetus melanoleucus)
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Predation risk has played an important role in primate behavioral evolution, yet natural primate–predator interactions are rarely observed. We describe the consumption and probable predation of an adult bald-faced saki monkey (Pithecia rylandsi) by a black-and-white hawk-eagle (Spizaetus melanoleucus) at the Los Amigos Biological Station in lowland Amazonian Peru. To our knowledge, this is the first published case of a black-and-white hawk-eagle consuming any primate species. We contend that while most reported observations of successful and attempted predation by raptors involves the largest and most notorious species (i.e. the harpy eagle), smaller and lesser known species like S. melanoleucus should be considered more seriously as a predator of neotropical primates. We discuss the predation event in the context of understanding what other neotropical primates might be vulnerable to S. melanoleucus predation given its body size and hunting tactic.
KeywordsPredation Spizaetus melanoleucus Pithecia rylandsi Antipredator behavior Peru
We thank Catherine A. Lindell, Dawn M. Kitchen, and W. Scott McGraw for reviewing and offering important feedback on the original manuscript. Many thanks to Don Dario Cruz (DC) for his astute observations and detailed notes on the saki predation event. We are also grateful to the Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA) and Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) for permission to conduct research at Los Amigos and to ACCA staff for their support and companionship during the study. Lastly, the invaluable comments of Dr. Yuji Takenoshita and an anonymous reviewer greatly improved an earlier draft of this paper.
Compliance with ethical standards
The authors collected observations reported in this manuscript during separate long-term research projects supported by The Ohio State University (DBA), Michigan State University (SMW), Animal Behavior Society (DBA), and the National Science Foundation-BCS-1,341,174 (DBA).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All research reported in this manuscript was authorized by Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) and approved by The Ohio State University’s and Michigan State University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC).
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