Spider Monkeys in Human-Modified Landscapes
Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor ; Pérez-Elissetche, Gloria Karina ; Ordóñez-Gómez, José D. ; González-Zamora, Arturo ; Chaves, Óscar M. ; Sánchez-López, Sònia ; Chapman, Colin A. ; Morales-Hernández, Karenina et al.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/16498
With the extant of tropical forest degradation, primates increasingly inhabit forest patches embedded in anthropogenic matrices. Such matrices are composed of different land cover types (e.g., agricultural lands and cattle pastures), but large uncertainty remains about the ability of primates to use these land covers. Here, we assessed the use of the landscape matrix by spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in 13 forest sites from three countries (Mexico, Costa Rica, and El Salvador). Based on ad libitum records from >212 months of field observations, we found that spider monkeys used four types of land covers for feeding or traveling: secondary vegetation, isolated trees, tree crops, and vegetation corridors. Secondary vegetation was more frequently used than the other land covers. The number of land covers present in the matrix was positively related to the number of land covers used for traveling and feeding. Monkeys consumed 53 plant species in the matrix, mostly native and old-growth or late-successional forest species, although they also used three cultivated tree species. Most species were trees, especially from preferred food species, although monkeys also used palms, lianas, and shrubs. Monkeys fed principally from fruits, but they also used leaves, wood, and flowers. Most species were used from secondary vegetation and isolated trees. These findings suggest that the landscape matrix can provide supplementary food sources for this endangered primate and opportunities for traveling (i.e., spatial connectivity) in human-modified landscapes—information that can be used to improve conservation strategies, especially under the context of land-sharing management strategies (e.g., agroforestry).