Primate assemblage structure in amazonian flooded and unflooded forests

Authors

  • Torbjørn Haugaasen,

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    1. Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
    • Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom
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  • Carlos A. Peres

    1. Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
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Abstract

There is considerable variation in primate species richness across neotropical forest sites, and the richest assemblages are found in western Amazonia. Forest type is an important determinant of the patterns of platyrrhine primate diversity, abundance, and biomass. Here we present data on the assemblage structure of primates in adjacent unflooded (terra firme) and seasonally inundated (várzea and igapó) forests in the lower Purús region of central-western Brazilian Amazonia. A line-transect census of 2,026 km in terra firme, 2,309 km in várzea, and 277 km in igapó was conducted. Twelve primate species were recorded from 2,059 primate group sightings. Although terra firme was found to be consistently more species-rich than várzea, the aggregate primate density in terra firme forest was considerably lower than that in the species-poor várzea. Consequently, the total biomass estimate was much higher in várzea compared to either terra firme or igapó forest. Brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) were the most abundant species in terra firme, but were outnumbered by squirrel monkeys (Saimiri cf. ustus) in the várzea. The results suggest that floodplain forest is a crucial complement to terra firme in terms of primate conservation in Amazonian forests. Am. J. Primatol. 67:243–258, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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