Animal Ecology

The secrets of canopy dwellers revealed

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Science  27 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6191, pp. 1477-1478
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6191.1477-g

Many mammals in tropical forests spend much of their life in the canopy, which makes their behavior difficult to document. Treetop cameras can help, Gregory et al. report. The authors attached motion-triggered cameras high in the branches of a Peruvian tropical forest. In more than 1500 photographs taken over 6 months, they recorded 20 mammal species at crossing points between trees. The animals seemed unfazed by the cameras (though fluttering leaves did tend to trigger the cameras unnecessarily). Like the more familiar camera traps at ground level, arboreal camera traps may become an important tool for recording hitherto hidden behaviors.

Methods Ecol. Evol. 5, 443 (2014).

A two-toed sloth in the canopy.

PHOTO: SMITHSONIAN CONSERVATION BIOLOGY INSTITUTE

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