Ecological Correlates of Ranging Behavior in Bearded Sakis (Chiropotes sagulatus) in a Continuous Forest in Guyana
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- Shaffer, C.A. Int J Primatol (2013) 34: 515. doi:10.1007/s10764-013-9682-z
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Group size and the distribution and quality of food resources are among the most important determinants of primate ranging behavior. In this study, I use the framework of the ecological constraints model to assess correlates of range size of a free-ranging group of bearded sakis (Chiropotes sagulatus). Bearded sakis are among the widest ranging neotropical primates, yet the lack of data from continuous forest populations has made understanding the factors influencing such large ranges difficult. I collected data on ranging behavior and diet during 44 full-day follows over 15 mo. The focal group used a home range of ca. 1000 ha and had daily path lengths of 2.8–6.5 km (mean = 4.0 km). Daily path length did not significantly correlate with group size, patch quality, food availability, or the spatial distribution of feeding trees. Monthly home range size significantly positively correlated with group size and patch quality. The focal group had significantly shorter paths when ripe fruit consumption was higher and had more diverse diets, visited more food patches, and used larger monthly home ranges when they consumed a higher percentage of seeds. The results of this study, combined with other recent studies of Chiropotes in continuous forest, suggest that large home ranges (approaching 1000 ha) are characteristic of the genus. Although range size may be related to group size and food patch size, I suggest nutrient mixing and the need to balance the effects of seed secondary compounds as additional explanations for the large ranges of bearded sakis.