Analysis of Black capuchin monkey’s route choice in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Authors: Jessica Molnar*, Dept. of Geography and Geosciences, Salisbury University, Andrea Presotto, Dept. Geography and Geosciences, Salisbury University, Patricia Izar, Dept. of Experimental Psychology, University of Sao Paulo
Topics: Animal Geographies, Behavioral Geography, South America
Keywords: route choice, Brazil, capuchin monkey, cost distance analysis
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Primates efficiently navigate their environment to minimize energy costs when looking for food. In the wild, traveling from one food source to the next often involves crossing areas with diverse characteristics. We investigated one group of black capuchin monkeys traversing a dense forest in Brazil. The area is covered mainly by undisturbed forest, in the Domain of “mares e morros”, which has unpredictable intervals of fructification. In the area the vegetation is uniformly dense and elevation is highly variable. The cost of energy of travel for two months in 2007 was analyzed and compared. During April food sources are abundant, whereas in May food is scarce and resources are dispersed. We hypothesized that limited amounts of food in May would force the capuchins to travel at further lengths and higher energy costs rather than trying to conserve their energy. Using slope and hydrology to calculate the capuchin's cost of travel, we reclassified raster data on a scale of one to five, with one being the least costly and five being the most costly. We then created a cost distance surface that was used to calculate the cost of each path traveled by capuchins. During April the mean value for cost of travel was 50.9 with a coefficient of variation (CV) of 0.69. The mean cost of travel for May was 126.1 and CV was 0.80. We found that the limited amount of food sources did in fact force the capuchins to take longer, higher cost paths of travel to forage.

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