Habitat selection and use of space by bald-faced sakis (Pithecia irrorata) in Southwestern Amazonia: Lessons from a multiyear, multigroup study

Suzanne Palminteri, Carlos A. Peres

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Population density and distribution in tropical forest vertebrates are directly linked to patterns of use of space relative to habitat structure and composition. To examine how forest type may explain the ranging behavior and high variance in group density observed within the geographic range of bald-faced saki monkeys (Pithecia irrorata), we monitored habitat use of 5 neighboring focal groups of this species in southwestern Amazonia over 3 yr. To test whether sakis are unflooded (terra firme) forest specialists, we compared home range (HR) use to the corresponding availability of 4 main forest types and quantified HR size and activity budgets as a function of forest type. HR size varied from 16 to 60 ha, and saki population density at this scale (12.5?±?6.4 SD individuals/km2) was more closely related to forest type than to group size. Although sakis were not obligate habitat specialists, groups clearly avoided bamboo forest and preferred terra firme forest. Terra firme forests were associated with small HRs, intensive use, high HR overlap, and territorial defense, all of which suggest that saki densities will be higher in areas dominated by terra firme forest where large patches of bamboo (Guadua spp.) are absent. The increased desiccation and subsequent forest fires expected in this region from the combined impacts of climate change and human land use potentially threaten the long-term viability of old-growth terra firme forest specialists such as sakis. Regional-scale conservation efforts should ensure that extensive blocks of terra firme forest are protected in areas that remain relatively free of bamboo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-417
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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