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1 September 2000 Influence of Fruit Availability on Ecological Overlap among Four Neotropical Primates at Tinigua National Park, Colombia
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Data on fruit abundance and ecological overlap among Ateles belzebuth, Lagothrix lagothricha, Cebus apella, and Alouatta seniculus were gathered during 13 months at Tinigua National Park (Colombia), in an effort to test the following hypotheses concerning competition for fruits. Coexistence is possible because: (1) during periods when fruit availability is limited, the species utilize different resources; and (2) the species have different fruit preferences independent of fruit production in the forest. Differences were found in resource use (diet and habitat) for all four species. Despite these differences, all four devoted large proportions of time feeding on fruit. Fruit abundance influenced their activity patterns. Ninety percent of all interspecific aggressive interactions (N = 69) were seen in fruiting trees. The first hypothesis was best supported, given that all species significantly increased their intake of the vegetative parts of plants during periods of fruit scarcity. Fruit partitioning during periods of scarcity was observed clearly only for one pair of species (C. apella and L. lagothricha). In general, the second hypothesis was not supported as a mechanism for reducing competition because most fruit species were consumed by more than one primate species. Fruit preferences, however, may be particularly important in explaining differences in niche overlap between the most ecologically similar species: A. belzebuth relied heavily on the fruits of one palm species (Oenocarpus bataua) during periods of fruit scarcity and abundance, while L. lagothricha completely ignored this fruit.
Pablo R. Stevenson, Marcela J. Quiñones and Jorge A. Ahumada "Influence of Fruit Availability on Ecological Overlap among Four Neotropical Primates at Tinigua National Park, Colombia1," BIOTROPICA 32(3), (1 September 2000).[0533:IOFAOE]2.0.CO;2

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