13 - Why we know so little: the challenges of fieldwork on the Pitheciids  pp. 145-150

Why we know so little: the challenges of fieldwork on the Pitheciids

By Liliam Patricia Pinto et al.

Image View Previous Chapter Next Chapter


Possessing a suite of unusual and interesting features, Pitheciids are at the extremes of many of primatology’s ecological and sociological continua (see Norconk 2011). Pitheciids should provide acute tests of many primatological models; however, this is frequently thwarted by the lack of even the most basic quantitative information concerning ecology, behavior and social organization. Such gaps are due not only to the small number of studies, but also to difficulties in obtaining data. This chapter considers why, given that these primates possess such aesthetic and intellectual appeal and high conservation value, they have been so little studied.

The peculiarities of pitheciids, combined with their native habitats’ inherent challenges, have often undermined potentially successful fieldwork. Some researchers who began working with species of Callicebus or Chiropotes, for example, simply gave up because of problems habituating the animals or because the study was so difficult that the quality and quantity of gained data would not be worth the effort. Several researchers who persisted were either unable to obtain the expected volume of data or were incapable of answering many of their initial research questions, sometimes both.

Ayres, J.M. (1981). Observações sobre a ecologia e o comportamento dos cuxiús (Chiropotes albinasus e Chiropotes satanas, Cebidae: Primates). Unpublished Master’s thesis, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus.
Ayres, J.M. (1986). Uakaris and the Amazonian flooded forests. Unpublished PhD thesis, Cambridge University.
Barnett, A.A. & Brandon-Jones, D. (1997). The ecology, biogeography and conservation of the uacaris, Cacajao (Pitheciinae). Folia Primatologica, 68, 223–235.
Barnett, A.A. (2010). Diet, habitat use and conservation ecology of the golden-backed uacari, Cacajao melanocephalus ouakary, in Jaú National Park, Amazonian Brazil. PhD dissertation, Roehampton University, London. .
Bezerra, B. , Barnett, A. , Silva Junior, S.J. , et al. (2008). Sounding out species: holes in our distributional knowledge of Amazonian primates, and the potential for call playback as a survey technique. Presentation # 695, Abstracts, XXII. Congress, International Primatological Society, Edinburgh, August 2–8, 2008: 249–250.
Bezerra, B. , Souto, A. & Jones, G. (2010). Responses of golden-backed uacaris, Cacajao melanocephalus, to call playback: implications for surveys in the flooded Igapó forest. Primates, 51, 327–336.
Bezerra, B.M. & Souto, A.S. (2008). Structure and usage of the vocal repertoire of Callithrix jacchus. International Journal of Primatology, 29, 671–701.
Boubli, J.P. (1999). Feeding ecology of black-headed uacaris (Cacajao melanocephalus melanocephalus) in Pico da Neblina National Park, Brazil. International Journal of Primatology, 20, 719–749.
Bowler, M. & Bodmer, R. (2010). Social behavior in fission–fusion groups of red uakari monkeys (Cacajao calvus ucayalii). American Journal of Primatology, 71, 976–987.
Bowler, M. (2007). The ecology and conservation of the red uakari monkey on the Yavarí River, Peru. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Kent, Canterbury.
Cardoso, N. (2003). Uso de recursos alimentares por Callicebus melanochir (Wied-Neuwied, 1820) (Primates: Pithecidae) em uma área perturbada na Reserva Natural Serra do Teimoso, Jussari-BA. Monografia de graduação (Ciências Biológicas), Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Bahia.
Caselli, C.B. (2008). Ecologia alimentar, padrão de atividade e uso de espaço por Callicebus nigrifrons (Primates: Pitheciidae). Master’s thesis, Unicamp, SP.
Ferrari, S. , Emidio-Silva, C. , Lopes, M. , et al. (1999). Bearded sakis in south-eastern Amazonia – back from the brink? Oryx, 33, 346–351.
Ferrari, S.F. , Iwanaga, S. , Ravetta, A.L. , et al. (2003). Dynamics of primate communities along the Santarém-Cuiabá Highway in south-Central Brazilian Amazonia. In Primates in Fragments: Ecology and Conservation, ed. L. Marsh . New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, pp. 123–144.
Frazão, E.R. (1992). Dieta e estratégia de forragear de Chiropotes satanas chiropotes (Cebidae: Primates) na Amazônia Central Brasileira. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus.
Müller, K.H. & Schildger, J. (1994). Capture and radio-telemetry of masked titi monkeys, Callicebus personatus melanochir. Neotropical Primates, 2, 7–8.
Müller, K.H. , Heiduck, S. & Shultze, S . (1993). Field investigations on masked titi monkeys (Callicebus personatus melanochir) in Una, Bahia, Brazil. Neotropical Primates, 1, 21–22.
Melo, F.R. & Mendes, S.L. (2000). Emission of long calls by groups of Callicebus nigrifrons and their reactions to playbacks. A Primatologia no Brasil, 7, 215–222.
Mittermeier, R.A. & van Roosmalen, M.G.M. (1981). Preliminary observations on habitat utilization and diet in eight Surinam monkeys. Folia Primatolica, 36, 1–39.
Neri, F.M. (1997). Manejo de Callicebus personatus (Geoffroy 1812) resgatados: uma tentativa de translocação e estudos ecológicos de um grupo silvestre na Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural Galheiro – Minas Gerais. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte.
Norconk, M.A. (2006). Long-term study of group dynamics and female reproduction in Venezuelan Pithecia pithecia. International Journal of Primatology, 27, 653–674.
Norconk, M.A. (2011). Sakis, uakaris, and titi monkeys: behavioral diversity in a radiation of primate seed predators. In: Primates in perspective, 2nd edition, ed. C.J. Campbell , A. Fuentes , K.C. MacKinnon , M. Panger , S.K. Bearder . New York, NY: Oxford University Press, pp. 123–138.
Pinto, L.P. (2008). Ecologia alimentar do cuxiú-de-nariz-vermelho Chiropotes albinasus (Primates: Pitheciidae) na Floresta Nacional do Tapajós, Pará. Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas.
Santos, R.R. (2002). Ecologia de cuxiús (Chiropotes satanas) na Amazônia Oriental: Perspectivas para a conservação de populações fragmentadas. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi and Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém.
Setz, E.Z.F. (1991). Métodos de quantificação de comportamento de primatas em estudos de campo. In A primatologia no Brasil – 3, ed. A.B. Rylands and A.T. Bernardes . Belo Horizonte: Fundação Biodiversitas, pp. 411–435.
Setz, E.Z.F. (1993). Ecologia alimentar de um grupo de parauacus Pithecia pithecia chrysocephala em um fragmento florestal na Amazônia Central. Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas.
Silva, S.S.B. (2003). Comportamento alimentar do cuxiú-preto (Chiropotes satanas) na área de influência do reservatório da usina hidrelétrica de Tucuruí–Pará. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi and Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém.
Veiga, L.M. (2006). Ecologia e comportamento do cuxiú-preto (Chiropotes satanas) na paisagem fragmentada da Amazônia Oriental. Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém.
Vié, J.-C. , Richard-Hansen, C. & Fournier-Chambrillon, C. (2001). Abundance, use of space and activity patterns of white-faced sakis (Pithecia pithecia) in French Guiana. American Journal of Primatology, 55, 203–221.