Arboreal monkeys facilitate foraging of terrestrial frugivores

Havmøller, Linnea W., Loftus, J. Carter, Havmøller, Rasmus W., Alavi, Shauhin E., Caillaud, Damien, Grote, Mark N., Hirsch, Ben T., Tórrez-Herrera, Lucia L., Kays, Roland, and Crofoot, Margaret C. (2021) Arboreal monkeys facilitate foraging of terrestrial frugivores. Biotropica, 53 (6). pp. 1685-1697.

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Terrestrial animals feed on fruit dropped by arboreal frugivores in tropical forests around the world, but it remains unknown whether the resulting spatial associations of these animals are coincidental or intentionally maintained. On Barro Colorado Island, Panama, we used a combination of acoustic playback experiments, remote camera monitoring, and GPS tracking to quantify the frequency of such interactions, determine who initiates and maintains spatial associations, and test whether terrestrial animals adopt a strategy of acoustic eavesdropping to locate fruit patches created by foraging primates. Indeed, 90% of fruits collected in fruit fall traps had tooth marks of arboreal frugivores, and terrestrial frugivores visited fruit trees sooner following visits by GPS-collared monkeys. While our play back experiments were insufficient to support the hypothesis that terrestrial frugivores use auditory cues to locate food dropped by arboreal primates, analyses of movement paths of capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus), spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), and coatis (Nasua narica) reveal that observed patterns of interspecific attraction are not merely a byproduct of mutual attraction to shared resources. Coatis were significantly more likely to initiate close encounters with arboreal primates than vice versa and maintained these associations by spending significantly longer periods at fruiting trees when collared primates were present. Our results demonstrate that terrestrial frugivores are attracted to arboreal primates, likely because they increase local resource availability. Primates are often among the first species in a habitat to be extirpated by hunting; our results suggest that their loss may have unanticipated consequences for the frugivore community.

Item ID: 70601
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-7429
Keywords: attraction, camera trapping, eavesdropping, GPS tracking, interspecific associations, Panama, tropical forest
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Biotropica published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2022 23:32
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