Patterns of behaviour of Sciurus aestuans in an urban fragment of rain forest in Brazil, Santa Teresa, E.S.

Luciana Conde

In this work (September 2002 – October 2003), on the patterns of behaviour of Guianan squirrels, S. aestuans, resident in small fragments of forest, two reproductive periods were observed, one in the spring and the other in the autumn. A stable temporal pattern of behaviours was seen, and individuals spent most of their time in feeding, followed by storing food, rest, and interaction. The analysis of observed social interactions revealed two patterns during the year: the first was mainly characterized by friendly relationships from September to April, while the second, from May to August was less harmonious. The observed diet was classified into nine categories: (1) fruit endosperm; (2) fruit pulp; (3) lichens; (4) dry leaves; (5) insects; (6) fruit offered by park wardens to birds; (7) bryophytes; (8) mushrooms and (9) other. In an analysis of preference, the fruit endosperm category presented the largest daily proportion in the summer, whereas fruit pulp was used more in the winter. The food items most used in the diet of S. aestuans they were Syagrus pseudococos (Family Arecaceae – palms, native), S. ruschianaS. romanzoffianaPolyandrococos caudensis (Arecaceae, native), Levistona chinensis (Arecaceae, exotic) and Eryobotrya japonica (Rosaceae, exotic). The results of this work indicate fewer food resources were used compared to other studies. The squirrels used 18 nests in the study area, all close to the food resources. The data obtained in this study show that S. aestuans is a generalist that is tolerant of forest fragmentation.

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