Diet in one group of woolly spider monkeys, or muriquis (Brachyteles arachnoides)


  • Karen B. Strier

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison
    • Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706
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Data on feeding behavior in one group of muriquis (Brachyteles arachnoides) were collected during a 14 month study at Fazenda Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Muriquis devoted an average of 51% of their annual feeding time to leaves, 32% to fruits, and 11% to flowers. The high proportion of leaves in their diet is consistent with predictions from the energetics of body size. However, they devoted a greater proportion of their feeding time to patchy fruit and flower resources than was expected from comparisons with smaller, sympatric howler monkeys. Muriqui diet varied with the availability of preferred food types across sample months. Fruit and flower consumption corresponded to the availability and abundance of these food resources in the forest. Leaves contributed substantially to muriqui diet throughout the year but appeared to be eaten primarily to provide necessary protein and/or necessary bulk. Male and female diets differed only in the greater proportion of feeding time females devoted to flowers.