Habitat use, fruit consumption, and population density of the black-headed night monkey, Aotus nigriceps, in southeastern Peru

posted on 04.12.2019 by William. D. HELENBROOK, Madison L. WILKINSON, Jessica A. SUAREZ

ABSTRACT The black-headed night monkey, Aotus nigriceps, has one of the largest distribution ranges of the 11 night monkey species found across Central and South America. Yet, only three studies have focused on their ecology, describing considerable variation in habitat, group composition, and population density. Therefore, we analyzed habitat use, group composition, population density, and diet of 14 groups at two field sites in southeastern Peru. All sampled groups were found in secondary tropical rainforest, often dominated by native bamboo species. Half of the observed sleeping sites were in bamboo stands, though groups also emerged from cane thickets and lianas. This contrasts with other Aotus studies which have found groups living in tree cavities and lianas. Population density estimates for both sites were 19 and 50 individuals per km2, outside the range previously reported for A. nigriceps (31−34 individuals per km2). We recovered seeds of 12 species from fecal samples over the course of two field seasons, belonging mainly to Cecropiaceae, Piperaceae and Moraceae. Our results suggest that the black-headed night monkey in Peru can survive and even thrive in secondary forest, feeding extensively on pioneer species, occupying a range of forest types, all while living near human settlements.