Seasonal variations in black-faced black spider monkey (Ateles chamek) habitat use and ranging behavior in a southern Amazonian tropical forest



Data are presented regarding the habitat use and ranging behavior of a spider monkey (Ateles chamek) community at Lago Caiman in northeastern Bolivia. Habitat use was driven primarily by fruit availability and distribution across the community home range. Strong seasonal variations occurred in fruit availability within all five of the floristically and phenologically distinct habitat types identified within the study site, and the spider monkeys dramatically shifted their ranging according to which habitat was richest in fleshy fruits. This use of local habitat diversity resulted in an unusually elongated shape for the home range that was otherwise typical of previous Ateles studies in terms of size. Ranging behavior was clumped and community core areas shifted seasonally across the focal community home range. Individual core areas were not relevant to the study due to dramatic community-wide shifts in ranging patterns. Day journey lengths were highly variable (460–5,690 m) and the distribution and abundance of fleshy fruit resources explained 81% of the monthly variations in mean day journey length. Keystone habitats for forest frugivores are identified and results are discussed with reference to previous studies on this genus, and the importance of considering keystone habitats and local habitat diversity within the management of forestry concessions in the region. Results are also discussed with reference to the behavioral ecology of the genus Ateles. Am. J. Primatol. 68:313–332, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.