Relationships Between Habitat Type and Owl Monkey (Aotus miconax) Diets. An International Collaboration.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel from the United States was limited. Despite limitations, we forged an international collaboration between the Asociación Neotropical Primate Conservation Perú, the Owl Monkey Project and Yale University to advance scientific discovery. Our pilot project explored how Peruvian owl monkey (Aotus miconax) diets differ between two habitats: 1) continuous cloud forest and 2) fragmented secondary growth forest. We spent 18 nights collecting data between October - December 2020; eight nights in the continuous forest and ten in the fragmented forest. Our preliminary findings suggest that individuals living in the fragmented forest spend more time foraging and feeding, and use more individual trees per night, than those in the continuous forest. It also seems that individuals rely on disparate plant species in the two habitats; monkeys in the continuous forest most frequently ate Cecropia spp. whereas those living in the fragment primarily consumed Ficus spp. Groups in both habitats were primarily observed eating fruit. Given these results, it seems that habitat type could play an intimate role in shaping owl monkey activity budget, behavior, and diet. Future research is needed to further examine these relationships, as visibility was limited, and monkeys were primarily unhabituated in the continuous forest. We will continue fostering this collaborative research to explore how habitat and land-use relate to the ecology, nutrition, and viability of owl monkey populations and species.