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Frugivory patterns and seed dispersal by golden-headed lion tamarins (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) in Una Biological Reserve, Bahia, Brazil

1 / Yvonnick Le Pendu1 / Marina J. Lapenta2 / Becky E. Raboy3

1Department of Biology, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Rodovia Ilhéus/Itabuna, km 16 Salobrinho, Ilhéus, Bahia 45662-900, Brazil

2Instituto Pri-Matas para a Conservção da Biodiversidade, Caixa Postal 3304, Savassi, Belo Horizonte, MG. CEP: 30140-970, Brazil

3Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008, USA

Corresponding author

Citation Information: mammalia. Volume 75, Issue 4, Pages 327–337, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: 10.1515/MAMM.2011.042, September 2011

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Published Online:


This study identified fruit species eaten by Leontopithecus chrysomelas (golden-headed lion tamarins; GHLTs) and related their consumption to seed dispersal. Two GHLT groups were monitored from September 2006 through August 2007 in Una Biological Reserve, Bahia, Brazil. GHLTs consumed fruit from 71 species, preferred mature fruit and swallowed the seeds of most species (76.8%). Smaller seeds were swallowed and larger seeds were generally discarded. GHLTs defecated in low quantities and more than 50% of the faeces contained seeds from only one species. Most faeces were deposited far from the parental tree (>20m) and only 24.2% under the parental tree. The defecation pattern of L. chrysomelas could reduce competition between seeds and facilitate the establishment of seedlings from the most consumed species. Faeces were deposited widely throughout home ranges and away from a seed's parental tree increasing the chances that seeds reach favourable environments and avoid competition with other seedlings. Additionally, defecations also occurred in the same habitat type as a seed's parental tree, keeping species within their typical habitat. GHLTs in Una Biological Reserve were efficient dispersers and might play an important role in the maintenance of floristic composition and regeneration of habitat.

Keywords: Atlantic forest; frugivory; Leontopithecus chrysomelas; primates; seed dispersal; South America

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