Terrestrial Behavior in Titi Monkeys (Callicebus, Cheracebus, and Plecturocebus): Potential Correlates, Patterns, and Differences between Genera

Abstract

For arboreal primates, ground use may increase dispersal opportunities, tolerance to habitat change, access to ground-based resources, and resilience to human disturbances, and so has conservation implications. We collated published and unpublished data from 86 studies across 65 localities to assess titi monkey (Callicebinae) terrestriality. We examined whether the frequency of terrestrial activity correlated with study duration (a proxy for sampling effort), rainfall level (a proxy for food availability seasonality), and forest height (a proxy for vertical niche dimension). Terrestrial activity was recorded frequently for Callicebus and Plecturocebus spp., but rarely for Cheracebus spp. Terrestrial resting, anti-predator behavior, geophagy, and playing frequencies in Callicebus and Plecturocebus spp., but feeding and moving differed. Callicebus spp. often ate or searched for new leaves terrestrially. Plecturocebus spp. descended primarily to ingest terrestrial invertebrates and soil. Study duration correlated positively and rainfall level negatively with terrestrial activity. Though differences in sampling effort and methods limited comparisons and interpretation, overall, titi monkeys commonly engaged in a variety of terrestrial activities. Terrestrial behavior in Callicebus and Plecturocebus capacities may bolster resistance to habitat fragmentation. However, it is uncertain if the low frequency of terrestriality recorded for Cheracebus spp. is a genus-specific trait associated with a more basal phylogenetic position, or because studies of this genus occurred in pristine habitats. Observations of terrestrial behavior increased with increasing sampling effort and decreasing food availability. Overall, we found a high frequency of terrestrial behavior in titi monkeys, unlike that observed in other pitheciids.

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Acknowledgments

All authors thank the numerous sources that funded, helped, and supported the various research projects from which the data were compiled and analyzed. We are grateful the Joanna Setchell and two anonymous reviewers for the valuable consideration in the manuscript.

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JPS-A and AAB conceived and designed the experiments. RRH and IM analyzed the data. JPS-A and AAB wrote the first draft of manuscript. All the authors revised the manuscript.

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Correspondence to João Pedro Souza-Alves.

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Handling Editor: Joanna M. Setchell.

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Souza-Alves, J.P., Mourthe, I., Hilário, R.R. et al. Terrestrial Behavior in Titi Monkeys (Callicebus, Cheracebus, and Plecturocebus): Potential Correlates, Patterns, and Differences between Genera. Int J Primatol 40, 553–572 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-019-00105-x

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Keywords

  • Callicebinae
  • Fruit availability
  • Ground use
  • Predation risk
  • Sampling effort