Journal of Tropical Ecology

Research Article

Seasonal diet of capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) in a semideciduous forest in south-east Brazil

Mauro Galettia1 p1 and Fernando Pedronia2

a1 Departamento de Zoologia, I.B., Universidade Estadual de Campinas, C.P. 6109, 13081-970 Campinas, Sāo Paulo, Brazil

a2 Departamento de Botânica, Universidade Estadual de Campinas


The diet of capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella, in a 250 ha semideciduous forest in south-east Brazil was studied for 44 consecutive months. Based on 367 feeding bouts the diet of capuchins was 53.9% fruit pulp, 16.0% seeds, 11.1% flowers, 6.3% leaves and new shoots, 1.5% roots and 13.9% corn from plantations surrounding the forest. Seventy-one plant species were consumed by capuchins. Food availability was markedly seasonal. During the dry season the fleshy fruit availability decreased, and at that time the capuchins became seed predators and flowereaters. Several fruits eaten by capuchins in the dry season were not consumed by other frugivorous vertebrates, such as howler monkeys, parrots or squirrels, allowing capuchins to avoid competition with other arboreal frugivores. In semideciduous forests where fleshy fruits are less abundant than in the wet forests capuchins are important seed predators.

(Accepted April 29 1993)


p1 Present address: Wildlife Research Group, Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, CB2 3DY, UK.