Ranging behaviour and habitat preference of a wild marmoset group, Callithrix humeralifer (Callitrichidae, Primates)

Authors

  • Anthony B. Rylands

    1. Research Group on Mammalian Ecology and Reproduction, Department of Physiology, and the Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK
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  • *Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Caixa Postal 478, 69.000 Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

Abstract

The ranging behaviour of a group of marmosets (Callithrix humeralifer) in seasonal Amazonian rain forest was studied during one year. Range sizes (monthly and daily), day range lengths and patterns of range use are examined for correlations with feeding behaviour and the distribution of three forest types within the marmoset's range. Seasonal differences in ranging are associated with changes in the abundance and distribution of plant food sources. The marmosets ranged more widely and used more sources of a greater diversity of plant food species, which were distributed over a wider area, in the wet season than in the dry season. In the dry season, they ranged over a smaller area and, although they used fewer sources of a reduced diversity of plant species overall, they exploited a larger number of sources of the five highest ranked plant species in the diet. Throughout the year, they showed a preference for disturbed primary forest, characterized by dense understoreys and abundant second growth patches. Reasons for this preference are discussed, taking into account their use of fruits of typical pioneer species (particularly in the dry season), insect prey abundance, sleeping site availability and defence against predators.

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