Plasticity in the timing of activity in the Red-rumped Agouti, Dasyprocta leporina (Mammalia: Rodentia), in the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil
Keywords:Dasyproctidae, abiotic factors, activity patterns, circadian rhythm, photoperiod
AbstractAbstract Timing of activity is a consequence of adaptations to daily and seasonal changes in the environment and examining these patterns is important to better understand the temporal niches of the species. Here we examine temporal activity in the Red-rumped Agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) in two fragments of Atlantic Forest and those factors that influence the circadian rhythm in the study areas. Camera traps were used to gather data in two protected areas (one montane and other coastal) in the state of Espírito Santo, southeastern Brazil. A total of 49 photos were taken in the mountains and 152 in the coastal area. Activity patterns were diurnal and bimodal, and animals were active for 14-15 hours each day. Activity peaked in the morning soon after sunrise and then before and during dusk. Activity patterns were different in the two study areas (W = 6.77, p = 0.034). There was a longer peak in the morning in the coastal area, and a higher peak in the evening in the mountains, where activity starts later and becomes less intense earlier. The difference between activity patterns in the two locations suggests plasticity in agouti behavior. Because the two study areas are at about the same latitude, we suggest that the behavioral plasticity is due to different temperature regimes associated with a local effect of altitude and topography of the terrain on the incidence of solar rays inside the forest. The influence of other factors is also discussed. In addition to a better understanding of the temporal niche of the Red-rumped Agouti, the behavior patterns we describe here can be useful to optimize strategies for D. leporina conservation in southeastern Brazil once the species is more susceptible to poaching at times when animals are most active.
How to Cite
Magalhães, L. M., & Srbek-Araujo, A. C. (2019). Plasticity in the timing of activity in the Red-rumped Agouti, Dasyprocta leporina (Mammalia: Rodentia), in the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil. Biota Neotropica, 19(2). Retrieved from https://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/BN/article/view/1621