Fruit Yield, not DBH or Fruit Crown Volume, Correlates with Time Spent Feeding on Fruits by Wild Leontopithecus rosalia

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Assessing fruit availability is a critical element in testing hypotheses concerning resource use by frugivores. One method to estimate fruit availability is to measure tree diameter at breast height (DBH) and assume a positive correlation with fruit tree productivity. Our first objective was to test the relationship between DBH and tree productivity. We used as our measures of tree productivity: volume of the fruit bearing region of the tree crown (FBRv) and fruit yield measured as grams of dry fruit matter per fruit bearing region (FBR). Our second objective was to determine if time spent feeding on fruits by golden lion tamarins was correlated with 3 measures of tree productivity within their territories. We define tree productivity within a territory as tree productivity × tree density (fruit tree productivity/ha). We used as our measures of tree productivity/ha: (1) DBH × tree density, (2) fruit yield × tree density, and (3) FBRv × tree density. We measured DBH and FBRv for 17 fruit species commonly eaten by golden lion tamarins in Poço das Antas Reserve, Brazil. We counted fruits in trees and collected fruits to calculate fruit yield. We used measures of tree densities to calculate tree productivity/ha. We found that DBH correlated with fruit yield. The time tamarins spent feeding did not correlate with DBH (× tree density) or FBRv (× tree density), but it correlated with fruit yield (× tree density). Our results emphasize the importance of recording temporal and spatial measures of fruit productivity that are meaningful to the frugivore studied.

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