Journal of Tropical Ecology

Research Article

Home-range use by the Central American agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama

Enzo Aliaga-Rossela1 c1, Roland W. Kaysa2 and José M. V. Fragosoa3

a1 State University of New York, Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, 13210, USA

a2 New York State Museum, 3140 CEC, Albany, NY 12230, USA

a3 Environmental Studies Dept., University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA

Abstract

This study investigates the movements and home range of the agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. We captured and tracked 12 agoutis from January to December 2003. Home-range size (95% kernel) ranged from 1.56–2.45 ha (n = 6) for males and 1.34–1.97 ha (n = 5) for females. Agouti ranges overlapped and we estimated a density of approximately 100 agoutis km−2. We compared agouti movement with the locations of refuges and food trees, and the results suggest that the agoutis are central-place foragers. Agoutis moved an average of 850 m d−1 covering approximately 35% of their range daily. These movement data help us understand the potential impacts of agoutis as seed dispersers, predicting that D. punctata will encounter and hoard fallen fruit within 10–200 m (i.e. radius of home range) of its source, and move seeds towards refuges such as ground holes and dense vegetation around recent tree falls.

(Accepted May 02 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author. Email: enzo@hawaii.edu. Current address: 3190 Maile way- St. John 159, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, 96822, USA