Biogeographical and floristic predictors of the presence and abundance of mantled howlers (Alouatta palliata mexicana) in rainforest fragments at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico



This research focuses on identifying the principal habitat characteristics that influence the presence and abundance of mantled howlers in forest fragments. We provide information on the demography of several fragmented Alouatta palliata mexicana subpopulations at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico, and relate this to the biogeographical and floristic characteristics of the forest fragments inhabited. The most important habitat characteristics related to the presence and abundance of howlers in the fragments were fragment size and floristic diversity. On the other hand, some evidence suggests that given the conditions under which howlers in our study area live (i.e., small and degraded fragments with high densities), secondary vegetation may be beneficial for the survival of the howlers. Finally, we discuss the possibility that the very low immature-to-female ratio (IFR) in the groups, and the lack of juveniles found in many of the study groups may be due to high mortality rates in immatures. A reduction in food availability because of the high population densities of these groups may be responsible for this process. Am. J. Primatol. 67:209–222, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.