Monkey Forest Tales: Importance of learning about plants and arthropods when studying monkeys

Today’s post is about the importance of leaning about plants and arthropods while studying monkeys, especially if you are interested in ecology and feeding behavior of this incredible animals.

Most species of primates (monkeys, lemurs and apes) consume plant parts (fruits, flowers, leaves) and arthropods in different quantities every year. When studying their feeding behavior an important part of describing that behavior is to know the identity of the plant from which they are consuming a fruit, flower or leave, as well as the identity of the arthropod group they are consuming. Those are elements important to understand how they live and how can we implement effective tools to conserve them in their natural habitat.

However, most of us don’t see the importance of learning from other groups of organisms apart from the ones we like the most, because we focus only on those interesting animals that capture our attention.

Learn from other groups of animals is not always easy, especially if what you need to learn is their taxonomy (how to identify them), so for most of us is a painful process and we usually need help from people expert on those topics to teach us during our fieldwork. Over the years I had learned that taking detailed notes, good quality pictures or drawing, when you are good at that, are useful tool that can make your taxonomy learning easier. Also, ask for help with identifications is important and can help you speed the process. I had been lucky enough to had help from friends over the years who had teach me a lot about plants especially. And during this process I had develop a small and simple photograph guide of plant from the Zocay Project area based on pictures of fruits, leave and sometime flowers of some of the plant that are used by monkeys in the study area.

In this post I want to share with you that picture guide, so you can also use it if it will help you with your plant identifications. Most of the plant are from secondary forest from the piedmont of Colombian Llanos, but some species are also found in the Amazon Forest. I apologize if some of the taxonomy is not updated, as you know I’m not a botanic, so some families may have change in recent years. But still, I think, it can be useful. I have found fruit guide very useful to identify plants when you are not an expert botanic. Please feel free to download it if you need it.

© Copyright Disclaimer. All pictures used on this web page are protected with copyrights to Xyomara Carretero-Pinzón. If you want to use any of these pictures, please leave a message on the website. Thank you.

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