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Diet and feeding behavior of Leontopithecus chrysomelas (Callitrichidae) in degraded areas of the Atlantic Forest of South-Bahia, Brazil.

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Habitat disturbance alters plant diversity and food resource availability, affecting the ecology, and ultimately the survival and reproduction, of species depending on those plants. Studies in degraded areas serve to improve our understanding of the consequences of habitat modification for endangered species and to guide conservation actions. We studied diet composition, monthly variation in feeding behavior and fruit feeding time, and dietary diversity in two golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) groups ranging in a degraded area of the Atlantic Forest in South-Bahia, Brazil, over a 12-month period. We recorded feeding behavior and food items consumed through continuous observations and focal animal sampling, and performed dietary analyses on samples from consumed fruits. Substrate manipulation to search for animal prey was the feeding activity most frequently observed, followed by fruit consumption. We observed nectar drinking and exudate feeding at low frequencies from April through July. Bromeliads were the principal foraging substrate. We observed the use of 114 plant species, confirming the large dietary diversity reported for the species. Individual trees from the family Melastomataceae, common in degraded forests, accounted for the highest visiting frequencies (40%). Fruit availability was the main factor explaining variation in monthly fruit feeding time, despite the absence of climatic seasonality. Nutritional or energetic characteristics did not affect fruit choice. Differences in floristic composition appear to be a major determinant of the species’ diet in different study areas. Regional forest restoration programs should consider including advanced forest species, to improve both forest quality and animal mobility between fragments.
ISSN: 0164-0291
Issue: 2
Volume: 37
Pagina's: 136-157
Jaar van publicatie:2016
Trefwoorden:Animal–plant interactions, Feeding ecology, Food intake, Lion tamarins, Seasonal variation