Little is known about frugivory of epiphytes. We investigated diurnal frugivores consuming Aechmea depressa, an endemic species from Southern Bahia, Brazil, through 67 hours of observation on three fruiting individuals. Infructescences were visited for 2% of the time and only by golden-headed lion tamarins (GHLTs; Leontopithecus chrysomelas). Aechmea depressa invests on physical defense to retain fruits for prolonged periods, however, GHLTs used their small size and dexterity to remove rigid bracts and extract fruits from the infructescence. Prior studies indicate GHLTs disperse Aechmea seeds. Given the low visitation rates and probability that few frugivores successfully manipulate A. depressa fruits, we suggest that GHLTs are extremely important to maintaining the populations of this bromeliad species.
Atlantic Rainforest; epiphyte; golden-headed-lion tamarin; Leontopithecus chrysomelas