Thursday, October 01, 2009

Howler Monkeys Caught Raiding Chicken Coop

monkey howler eggsWild howler monkeys have been caught on camera raiding chicken coops and eating bird's eggs.

The behaviour has surprised researchers as howler monkeys are thought to be exclusively vegetarian.

The egg-eating behaviour has evolved among black and gold howlers living in forest in Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Despite it being one of the best studied monkeys in the New World, this is the first time the species has been recorded eating animal matter.

Details of the new behaviour are published in the International Journal of Primatology by Dr Julio Bicca-Marques and Ms Carina Muhle of the Primatology Research Group at the PUC/RS Bioscience Faculty in Porto Alegre, Brazil and colleagues.

"Howlers are believed to be strictly vegetarian. Their diet is based on leaves and fruits, although other vegetable matter, such as petioles, pulvini, buds, flowers, stems, twigs and bark can also be eaten," says Dr Bicca-Marques.

Howler monkeys are also known to ingest occasional arthropods such as beetles, but the monkeys do this inadvertently as they gather plant material.

Full story here.

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