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Howling by the river: howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) communication in an anthropogenically-altered riparian forest in Costa Rica

In: Behaviour
Authors:
Laura M. Bolt Department of Anthropology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1
The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, P.O. Box 55-7519, Miami, FL 33255-7519, USA

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Dorian G. Russell The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, P.O. Box 55-7519, Miami, FL 33255-7519, USA
Department of Environmental Science, American University, Washington, DC, USA

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Elizabeth M.C. Coggeshall The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, P.O. Box 55-7519, Miami, FL 33255-7519, USA
Department of Anthropology, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA, USA

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Zachary S. Jacobson The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, P.O. Box 55-7519, Miami, FL 33255-7519, USA
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

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Carrie Merrigan-Johnson The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, P.O. Box 55-7519, Miami, FL 33255-7519, USA
Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Mississauga, ON, Canada

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Amy L. Schreier Department of Biology, Regis University, Denver, CO 80221, USA
The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy, P.O. Box 55-7519, Miami, FL 33255-7519, USA

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Abstract

The ways that forest edges may affect animal vocalization behaviour are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of various types of edge habitat on the loud calls (howls) of a folivorous-frugivorous primate species, Alouatta palliata, with reference to the ecological resource defence hypothesis, which predicts that males howl to defend vegetation resources. We tested this hypothesis across four forest zones — interior, riparian, anthropogenic, and combined forest edges — in a riparian forest fragment in Costa Rica. We predicted vegetation and howling would differ between forest zones, with riparian and interior zones showing the highest values and anthropogenic edge the lowest. Our results indicated that vegetation was richer and howling longer in riparian and interior zones compared to combined and anthropogenic edges, supporting the resource defence hypothesis and providing some of the first evidence in animal communication scholarship for differences in behavioural edge effects between natural riparian and anthropogenic edges.

Resumen

Las formas en que los bordes del bosque pueden afectar el comportamiento vocal de los animales son poco conocidas. Investigamos los efectos de varios tipos de hábitat de borde en los gritos (aullidos) de una especie de primate folívoro-frugívora, Alouatta palliata, con referencia a la hipótesis de la defensa de los recursos ecológicos, la cual predice que los machos aúllan para defender los recursos vegetales. Probamos esta hipótesis en cuatro zonas forestales: interior, ribereña, antropogénica y una combinación de bordes de bosque, en un fragmento de bosque ribereño en Costa Rica. Predijimos que la vegetación y el aullido diferirían entre las zonas forestales, con zonas ribereñas e interiores mostrando los valores más altos y el borde antropogénico los más bajos. Nuestros resultados indicaron que la vegetación era más rica y el aullido prolongado en las zonas ribereñas e interiores en comparación con los bordes combinados y antropogénicos, respaldando la hipótesis de defensa de los recursos y proporcionando algunas de las primeras pruebas en la investigación de la comunicación animal para diferencias en el comportamiento relacionadas con los efectos de bordeentre los bordes naturales ribereños y los antropogénicos.

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