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Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


The endemic Azuero howler monkey, Alouatta coibensis trabeata, was studied in three sites in and around the Mata Oscura community in Veraguas, Panamá in the western region of the Azuero Peninsula. A. coibensis trabeata is a critically endangered subspecies of A. coibensis that is threatened by continued habitat destruction and human encroachment throughout its entire distribution on the Azuero Peninsula. Sites included the Mata Oscura community (site 1), the Arenas community periphery (site 2), and the Cerro Hoya National Park (site 3). Demography, behavior, and habitat were assessed over 9 days of study in November. Troops were encountered in sites 1 and 2, but not in site 3. Troops had an average size of 9.43 individuals, with an average distribution of 4 females, 2.57 males, and 2.86 juveniles. The population density of the immediate study area was estimated at 0.15 individuals per hectare, which is fairly consistent with previous approximations of the subspecies’ distribution. The majority of behaviors that were observed fell into the categories of either foraging or rearing young (or both). Adult females spent significantly more time interacting with juveniles than did adult males. Time spent foraging was consistent across the sexes within troops, but varied significantly across sites 1 and 2. Size of forest fragments also varied considerably between sites 1 and 2. Further research is needed into the habitat fragmentation that continues on the Azuero Peninsula and the inevitable impact it has on the demography, behavior, and population of Alouatta coibensis trabeata.


Forest Biology | Latin American Studies | Zoology


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