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Keywords:

  • mixed group;
  • niche breadth;
  • niche overlap;
  • Saimiri;
  • Cebus;
  • Chiropotes;
  • Amazonia

Abstract

One of the most common types of polyspecific association observed in Neotropical primate communities is that between squirrel monkeys (Saimiri) and capuchins (Cebus). The present study focused on association patterns in two Saimiri sciureus groups in eastern Brazilian Amazonia, between March and October, 2009. The associations were analyzed in terms of the species involved, the degree of association, and niche breadth and overlap. The study involved two S. sciureus groups (B4 and GI) on the right and left bank of the Tocantins River, respectively, within the area of the Tucuruí reservoir in southeastern Pará. Relations between species were classified as associations (individuals within 50 m and moving in the same direction), and encounters (individuals within 50 m and no coordinated movement). Group B4 was in association with Cebus apella during 100% of monitoring, and with Chiropotes satanas in 20.2%. By contrast, Group GI associated with Cebus 54.8% of the time, and with Chiropotes utahickae 2.5%. Encounters with Alouatta belzebul and Saguinus niger were recorded at both sites, with Aotus azarae and Dasyprocta prymnolopha at B4, and with Callicebus moloch, Dasyproct aleporina, Mazama gouazoubira, and Nasua nasua at GI. Overall, Saimiri had a broader niche than Cebus in terms of vertical spacing and diet, but not for substrate use. This pattern did not appear to be affected by association. While group GI spent significantly (P<0.05) more time in association with Cebus during the wet season, group B4 associated with Chiropotes more during the dry season. Despite the higher association rates, niche overlap was greater for all variables at B4. This may reflect differences in the ranging and foraging patterns at the two sites, and the varying potential benefits of association for Saimiri. Am. J. Primatol. 73:1145–1151, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.