The feeding behaviour of free-ranging Saimiri sciureus was monitored over a 6-month period in eastern Brazilian Amazonia. Behavioural data were collected in scan samples (7–9 days per month), and fruit and arthropod availability were recorded monthly. A total of 3,546 feeding records were collected, divided between reproductive plant parts (55.1%) and arthropods (44.9%). The majority of identified prey were orthopterans and lepidopterans, and 10 of the 23 plant species exploited were Leguminosae and Sapotaceae. The diet varied progressively between August (20.0% plant, 80.0% animal) and January (79.7% plant, 20.3% animal). This shift accompanied an increase in the number of fruiting trees and evidence of declining arthropod availability. This included a marked reduction in foraging success and increasing consumption of immature prey. Overall, the data indicate that Amazonian squirrel monkeys may be relatively frugivorous during periods when prey is scarce.

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