Diet of the northern bearded saki (Chiropotes satanas chiropotes): A neotropical seed predator

Authors

  • Marc G. M. Van Roosmalen,

    1. National Institute For Amazon Research (INPA), Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
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  • Russell A. Mittermeier,

    Corresponding author
    1. World Wildlife Fund, Health Sciences Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook
    2. Department of Anatomical Sciences, Health Sciences Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook
    • Department of Anatomical Sciences, HSC, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794
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  • John G. Fleagle

    1. Department of Anatomical Sciences, Health Sciences Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook
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Abstract

Data on the diet of Chiropotes satanas chiropotes, the northern bearded saki, has been collected during several years of primate field observations in the Raleighvallen-Voltzberg Reserve in Suriname. This species feeds predominantly on immature seeds and ripe fruit, mainly the former. Chiropotes is especially fond of the members of the Brazil nut family, Lecythidaceae, and other species with exceptionally hard or tough seed pods. Concomitantly, Chiropotes shows striking dental and gnathic adaptations that facilitate opening and ingesting these well-protected food items. Seed predation in the Old World colobine, Colobus satanas, has been discussed primarily as a strategy for survival in forests characterized by leaves with low nutrient content and high toxicity; however, it now appears that arboreal seed predation is a relatively widespread primate dietary strategy found among higher primate species in a variety of forest types on three continents. It is yet another way of “making a living” in a tropical rain forest.

Ancillary