Forest fragmentation demonstrably alters plant species composition, distribution, and diversity, and, in turn, may affect the availability of food resources for primary consumers. We investigated to what extent fragmentation affected the diets of 6 groups of bearded saki monkeys (Chiropotes chiropotes) living in two 10-ha fragments, two 100-ha fragments that were no longer fully isolated, and 2 areas of continuous forest in central Amazonia. When changes occurred we tested whether differences in diet were due to plant species availability by comparing the prevalence of consumed items against their relative abundance at the 6 sites. In total, the monkeys consumed fruits, seeds, flowers, and leaves of 244 plant species, of which less than 2 were shared among all 6 groups. Although there was a positive correlation between relative abundance of diet species and consumption frequency, monkeys did not eat all available potential resources, and groups inhabiting the 10-ha fragments consumed items that were ignored in larger forested areas. Our findings suggest that bearded sakis living in small forest fragments are limited in their dietary choices as a consequence of the reduced number of plant species present, and therefore consume species that monkeys inhabiting continuous forests typically can ignore. We conclude that the ability to consume a diverse diet that includes seeds and unripe fruit helps this species survive in forest fragments, but it appears that these conditions are unviable unless connectivity increases among the forest fragments and continuous forest in the landscape.
- forest fragment
- seed predator
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation