Tropical rain forest fragmentation, Howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata), and dung beetles at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1999
Authors:A. Estrada, A. D., A., Coates-Estrada, R.
Journal:American Journal of Primatology
Keywords:Alouatta-palliata [howler-mo, Animalia-, Arthropoda-, Cebidae-: Primates-, Chordata-, Coleoptera-: Insecta-, Conservation-, dung-beetle (Coleoptera-), Environmental-Sciences), Invertebrata-, Mammalia-, Terrestrial-Ecology (Ecology-, Vertebrata-

In Neotropical rain forests, fresh mammal dung, especially that of howler monkeys, constitutes an important resource used by dung beetles as food and for oviposition and further feeding by their larvae. Tropical rain forest destruction, fragmentation, and subsequent isolation causing reductions in numbers of and the disappearance of howler moneys may result in decreasing numbers of dung beetles, but this has not been documented. In this study, we present information on the presence of howlers and dung beetles in 38 isolated forest fragments and 15 agricultural habitats. Howler monkeys were censused by visual means, while dung beetles were sampled with traps baited with a mixture of howler, cow, horse, and dog dung. Results indicated that loss of area and isolation of forest fragments result in significant decrements in howlers and dung beetles. However, dung beetle abundance was found to be closely related to the presence of howler monkeys at the sites and habitats investigated. Scenarios of land management designed to reduce isolation among forest fragments may help sustain populations of howler monkeys and dung beetles, which may have positive consequences for rain forest regeneration.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith