Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

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

  • Enzo Aliaga-Rossel (a1), Roland W. Kays (a2) and José M. V. Fragoso (a3)

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.

Corresponding author
1Corresponding author. Email: Current address: 3190 Maile way- St. John 159, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, 96822, USA
Hide All
ADLER G. H. 1998. Impacts of resource abundance on populations of a tropical forest rodent. Ecology 79:242254.
ADLER G. H. & KESTELL D. W. 1998. Fates of Neotropical tree seeds by spiny rats (Proechimys semispinosus). Biotropica 30:677681.
ADLER G. H. & LEVINS R. 1994. The island syndrome in rodent populations. Quarterly Review of Biology 64:473490.
ALIAGA-ROSSEL E. 2004. Landscape use, ecology and home range of the Agouti (Dasyprocta punctata). Masters thesis, Environmental Sciences and Forestry, State University of New York.
ALIAGA-ROSSEL E., MORENO R. S., KAYS R. W. & GIACALONE J. 2006. Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) predation on agouti (Dasyprocta punctata). Biotropica 38:691694.
ASQUITH N., TERBORGH J., ARNOLD A. & RIVEROS M. 1999. The fruits the agouti ate: Hymenaea courbaril seed fate when its disperser is absent from Lago Guri, Venezuela. Journal of Tropical Ecology 15:229235.
BLUNDELL G. M., MAIER J. A. K. & DEBEVEC E. M. 2001. Linear home ranges: effects of smoothing, sample size, and autocorrelation on kernel estimates. Ecological Monographs 71:469489.
BURGMAN M. A. & FOX C. J. 2003. Bias in species range estimates from minimum convex polygons: implications for conservation and options for improved planning. Animal Conservation 6:1928.
CARR G. M. & MACDONALD D.W. 1986. The sociality of solitary forager: a model based on resource dispersion. Animal Behaviour 34:15401579.
COWLISHAW G. 1997. Trade-offs between foraging and predation risks determine habitat use in a desert baboon population. Animal Behaviour 53:667686.
DIETRICH W., WINDSOR D. & DUNNE T. 1996. Geology, climate and hydrology of Barro Colorado Island. Pp. 21–46 in Leigh E., Rand S., & Windsor D. (eds.). The ecology of a tropical forest. Seasonal rhythms and long-term changes. (Second edition). Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington DC.
DONCASTER C. P. & MACDONALD D. W. 1997. Activity patterns and interactions of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Oxford city. Journal of Zoology (London) 241:7387.
EISENBERG J. F. 1989. Mammals of the Neotropics. Vol 1. The northern Neotropics: Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana. University Chicago Press, Chicago. 430 pp.
EISENBERG J. F. & THORINGTON R. W. 1973. A preliminary analysis of a Neotropical mammal fauna. Biotropica 5:150161.
FORGET P. M. 1991. Scatterhoarding of Astrocaryum paramaca by Proechimys in French Guiana: comparisons with Myoprocta exilis. Journal of Tropical Ecology 12:751761.
FOSTER R. 1996. The seasonal rhythm of fruitfall on Barro Colorado Island. Pp. 151172 in Leigh E., Rand S. & Windsor D. (eds.). The ecology of a tropical forest. Seasonal rhythms and long-term changes. (Second edition). Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, DC.
FRAGOSO J. M. V. 1999. Perception of scale and resource partitioning by peccaries: behavioral causes and ecological implications. Journal of Mammalogy 80:9931003.
FULLER T. K., YORK E. C., POWELL S. M., DECKER T. A. & DEGRAAF R. M. 2001. An evaluation of territory mapping to estimate fisher density. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79:16911696.
GARANT Y. & CRÊTE M. 1997. Fisher, Martes pennanti, home range characteristics in a high density untrapped population in southern Quebec. Canadian Field-Naturalist 111:359364.
GLANZ W. E., THORINGTON R., GIACALONE J. & HEANEY L. R. 1996. Seasonal food use and demographic trends in Sciurus granatensis. Pp. 239252 in Leigh E., Rand S. & Windsor D (eds.). The ecology of a tropical forest. Seasonal rhythms and long-term changes. (Second edition). Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, DC.
HALLWACHS W. 1986. Agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata): the inheritors of guapinol (Hymenaea courbaril: Leguminosae). Pp. 285304 in Estrada A. & Fleming D. (eds.). Frugivores and seed dispersal. Dr. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht.
HENRY O. 1999. Frugivory and the importance of seeds in the diet of the orange-rumped agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) in French Guiana. Journal of Tropical Ecology 15:291300.
JANSEN P. A. 2003. Scatterhoarding and tree regeneration. Ecology of nut dispersal in a Neotropical rainforest. PhD thesis. Wageningen University, Wageningen. 165 pp.
JANSON C. H. & EMMONS D. L. H. 1990. Ecological structure of the non flying mammal community at Cocha Cashu biological station, Manu National Park, Peru. Pp. 314338 in Gentry A. (ed.). Four Neotropical rainforests. Yale University Press, New Haven.
JETZ W., CARBONE C., FULFORD J. & BROWN J. H. 2004. The scaling of animal space use. Science 306:266268.
JOHNSON D. H. 1980. The comparison of usage and availability measurements for evaluating resource preference. Ecology 61:6571.
JOHNSON D. H., KAYS R. W., BLACKWELL P. & MACDONALD D. W. 2002. Does the resource dispersion hypothesis explain group living? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17:563570.
JORGE M. L. & PEREZ C. 2005. Population density and home range size of red-rumped agoutis (Dasyprocta leporina) within and outside a natural brazil nut stand in Southeastern Amazonia. Biotropica 37: 317321.
KENWARD R. E. 2001. A manual for wildlife radio tagging. Academic Press, London. 311 pp.
MILLSPAUGH J. & MARZLUFF J. 2001. Radio tracking and animal populations. Academic Press, San Diego. 474 pp.
MORENO R., KAYS R. W. & SAMUDIO R. 2006. Competitive release in the diet of ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) and puma (Puma concolor) in the absence of jaguar (Panthera onca) in Central Panama. Journal of Mammalogy 87:808816.
PERES E., SCHIESARI L. & DIAS-LEME C. 1997. Vertebrate predation of Brazil-nuts (Bertholletia excelsa, Lecythidaceae), an agouti-dispersed Amazonian seed crop: a test of the escape hypothesis. Journal of Tropical Ecology 13:6979.
RODRIGUEZ J. M. & VAUGHAN C. 1985. Notas sobre la ecología de la gatuza (Dasyprocta punctata Gray) en el bosque seco tropical de Costa Rica. Brenesia 24:253360.
SAMUEL M. D., PIERCE D. J. & GARTON E. O. 1985. Identifying areas of concentrated use within the home range. Journal of Animal Ecology 54:711719.
SEAMAN D. E. & POWELL R. A. 1996. An evaluation of the accuracy of kernel density estimators for home range analysis. Ecology 77:20752085.
SILVIUS K. 1999. Interactions among Attalea palms, bruchids beetles, and neotropical terrestrial fruit-eating mammals: implications for the evolution of frugivory. PhD Dissertation. University of Florida, Gainesville. 202 pp.
SILVIUS K. M. 2002. Spatio-temporal patterns of palm endocarp use by three Amazonian forest mammals: granivory or ‘grubivory’?. Journal of Tropical Ecology 18:707723.
SILVIUS K. & FRAGOSO J. M. V. 2003. Red-rumped agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) home-range use in Amazonian forest: implications for the aggregated distribution of forest trees. Biotropica 35:7483.
SMYTHE N. 1978. The natural history of the Central American agouti (Dasyprocta punctata). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 257:1152.
SMYTHE N., GLANZ W. & LEIGH E. 1996. Population regulation in some terrestrial frugivores. Pp. 227238 in Leigh E., Rand S. & Windsor D. (eds.). The ecology of a tropical forest. Seasonal rhythms and long-term changes. (Second edition). Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, DC.
TERBORGH J. 1986. Keystone plant resources in the tropical forest. Pp. 330344 in Soulé M. E. (ed.). Conservation biology. The science of scarcity and diversity. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland.
TERBORGH J., LOPEZ L., NUÑEZ P., RAO M., SHAHABUDDIN G., ORIHUELA G., RIVEROS M., ASCANIO R., ADLER G. H., LAMBERT T. D. & BALBAS L. 2001. Ecological meltdown in predator-free forest fragments. Science 294:19231926.
WRIGHT J., GOMPPER M. & DE LEON B. 1994. Are large predators keystone species in Neotropical forest? The evidence from Barro Colorado Island. Oikos 71:279294.
YLONEN H., PECH R. & DAVIS S. 2003. Heterogeneous landscapes and the role of refuge on the population dynamics of a specialist predator and its prey. Evolutionary Ecology 17:349369.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 22 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 187 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.