International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 571–583 | Cite as

Activity Patterns of Brachyteles arachnoides in the Largest Remaining Fragment of Brazilian Atlantic Forest

  • Mauricio G. Talebi
  • Phyllis C. Lee


Time is an important currency for primate energetics, reproduction, and survival. Here, we describe the activity budgets of a group of southern muriquis (Brachyteles arachnoides) inhabiting the largest continuous fragment of Brazilian Atlantic Forest (210,000 ha) in Parque Estadual Carlos Botelho (24°44´–15´S, 47´46–10 W), in the southern region of São Paulo State. We collected instantaneous scan sampling data to assess monthly, seasonal, and between-year differences in time allocation for the different activities for 2 complete, nonconsecutive years—1995 and 2002—and compare these with measures of food availability. Over the 2 yr, the group rested on average for 48%, fed for 28%, traveled for 22.5%, and socialized for 1.5% of daylight hours. On a monthly basis, resting correlated negatively with traveling in 1995, and strongly negatively correlated with feeding for both years. Feeding correlated negatively with traveling in 2002, with significantly more time spent traveling during periods of higher young leaf availability. Season was a major influence on activity: the group rested more during the hotter, rainy austral summer season, whereas feeding occurred more frequently in the cooler, drier winter season. We found no consistent associations between food availability and the time that southern muriquis spent in most activities. We suggest that these southern muriquis, like many other large-bodied and atelin primates, minimize energy expenditure while maximizing energy intake, which may be associated with their ability to be folivorous when their preferred fruit foods are less available. They thus adopt a flexible energetic strategy for coping with variable climatic conditions rather than being constrained by food availability.


activity patterns Brachyteles arachnoides Brazilian Atlantic Forest seasonality Southern Muriquis 



We thank 2 anonymous referees for their helpful early comments on the manuscript, Pró-Muriqui Association for logistical support, Raone Beltrão Mendes and Pedro Soares for data collection, and Rebecca Coles for constructive comments. The research reported here during the 1994–1995 period was financed with grants to K. B. Strier: NSF BNS 8958298, the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, and the Chicago Zoological Society. From 1996 onwards, the research was financed with grants to M. G. Talebi: Brazilian National Research Council, GDE Grant, Process 20025699-8; WWF-Brazil Postgraduate Support Grant (2002); Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation through Primate Action Fund of Conservation International, USA (2001–2004), Conservation International Brazil (Grant 05/007); Idea Wild (2002); Manfred Hermsen Stiftung Foundation, Bremen, Germany; British Airways Assisting Conservation Bureau; Downing College and University of Cambridge, UK. A research permit was granted by the Forestry Institute of São Paulo State, Process SMA 41513/1999–2008, for conducting this study. All research reported in this manuscript has complied with the appropriate national and institutional guidelines, animal care regulations, and applicable laws.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversidade Federal de São PauloDiademaBrazil
  2. 2.Conservation & Research of Southern Brazilian Atlantic ForestPró-Muriqui AssociationSao Miguel AranjoBrazil
  3. 3.Behaviour and Evolution Research Group, Department of PsychologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingUK

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