Availability of two species of fruits and their influence on the social structure of Tayassu pecari and Dicotyles tajacu

Marcos Briceño-Méndez, Eduardo J. Naranjo, Mariana Altrichter, Salvador Mandujano



The white-lipped peccary (Tayassu peccari) and the collared peccary (Dicotyles tajacu) are social ungulates that contribute to tropical forest maintenance, molding the composition of tree species through herbivory and seed dispersal and predation. The fruits of zapote (Manilkara zapota) and ramon (Brosimum alicastrum) trees are important items in the diet of both peccary species. The objective of this study was to assess the relationship between the abundance of fruits of Manilkara zapota and Brosimum alicastrum and its relationship with the number of newborns in groups of both peccary species during the rainy and dry season in a tropical forest in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Peccary groups were monitored with ten camera trap stations and through direct observations during the dry season of 2014 (February-May) and the rainy season of 2015 (June - September). To estimate fruit availability, five transects (2 km long) were set at random in forested areas. Several 2-m2 tree plots were established in each transect to obtain a fruit abundance index. Peccary group size and number of newborns in each season were correlated with fruit abundance. In both species, group size was significantly larger in the dry vs. rainy season (P < 0.001). Offspring were proportionally more abundant during the dry season (P < 0.001). Fruits of M. zapota were more abundant in the dry season and reached the peak availability in May (P < 0.001). Fruits of B. alicastrum were more abundant in the rainy season, reaching the peak availability in September (P < 0.001). For both peccary species, the highest numbers of newborns in individual groups may be attributable, although not specifically, to the abundance of M. zapota fruits during the dry season. In this sense, the groups of both peccary species may depend on the seasonal availability of food of key species, such as the fruits of M. zapota during the dry season. Based on these results, preserving areas in good conservation status is deemed important, as well as reducing tree clearing of species such as zapote and ramon at the study site.

Palabras clave

Brosimum alicastrum; Calakmul; fruit index availability; Manilkara zapota; ramon; newborns; peccary; zapote

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