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Seed Dispersal by Golden-headed Lion Tamarins Leontopithecus chrysomelas in Southern Bahian Atlantic Forest, Brazil

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Seed dispersal by small primates may be particularly relevant in areas where populations of larger frugivores have been reduced or extinguished by hunting and/or habitat disturbance. In this context, the aim of this study was to evaluate the role of the golden-headed lion tamarin Leontopithecus chrysomelas as a seed disperser in Atlantic forest remnants in Brazil. To this end, we opportunistically collected feces deposited during observations on the feeding behavior of two groups of golden-headed lion tamarins ranging in the degraded areas of the Una Biological Reserve, Bahia, Brazil, from February 2006 to January 2007. We collected 587 fecal samples, of which 524 contained seeds from 24 plant species, distributed over 13 families. Disregarding seeds of <3 mm, the majority of seeds recovered were bromeliad seeds. In general, ingestion of seeds by golden-headed lion tamarins did not improve the germination proportion or decrease the germination delay of seeds, with the exception of Aechmea spp. seeds. The tamarins encountered different habitats during their daily activity period, while feeding and defecating. Consequently, some seeds were transported to different habitats including disturbed areas. Thus, the role of seed dispersal in combination with the daily movement pattern of L. chrysomelas contributes to the persistence of fruit plants and epiphyte species and to the natural regeneration process within Atlantic forest remnants.
ISSN: 0006-3606
Issue: 6
Volume: 41
Pages: 744-750
Publication year:2009
Keywords:fecal samples, frugivory, seed germination, small primates