Food site residence time and female competitive relationships in wild gray-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena)

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (Impact Factor: 3.05). 09/2009; 63(10):1447-1458. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-009-0805-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Authors of socioecological models propose that food distribution affects female social relationships in that clumped food resources, such as fruit, result in strong dominance hierarchies and favor coalition formation with female relatives. A number of Old World monkey species have been used to test predictions of the socioecological models. However, arboreal forest-living Old World monkeys have been understudied in this regard, and it is legitimate to ask whether predominantly arboreal primates living in tropical forests exhibit similar or different patterns of behavior. Therefore, the goal of our study was to investigate female dominance relationships in relation to food in gray-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena). Since gray-cheeked mangabeys are largely frugivorous, we predicted that females would have linear dominance hierarchies and form coalitions. In addition, recent studies suggest that long food site residence time is another important factor in eliciting competitive interactions. Therefore, we also predicted that when foods had long site residence times, higher-ranking females would be able to spend longer at the resource than lower-ranking females. Analyses showed that coalitions were rare relative to some other Old World primate species, but females had linear dominance hierarchies. We found that, contrary to expectation, fruit was not associated with more agonism and did not involve long site residence times. However, bark, a food with a long site residence time and potentially high resource value, was associated with more agonism, and higher-ranking females were able to spend more time feeding on it than lower-ranking females. These results suggest that higher-ranking females may benefit from higher food and energy intake rates when food site residence times are long. These findings also add to accumulating evidence that food site residence time is a behavioral contributor to female dominance hierarchies in group-living species.

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    ABSTRACT: Identifying the causes of differential reproductive success is key to understanding natural selection and the forces of selection operating on animals. Here we present results from a 9-yr (2004-2012) study of female reproductive performance in relation to mother’s age and rank, presence of immigrant males, rainfall, and fig fruit abundance in four groups of gray-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena) in Kibale National Park, Uganda. We found that females had a rank- and age-specific reproductive pattern, with high-ranking females maturing earlier, having their first births earlier, and exhibiting significantly slower reproductive aging than low-ranking females. We also found that both immigrant and resident males were associated with higher birth rates. Finally, we found that reproduction was aseasonal and not correlated with rainfall, but that births were positively correlated with the abundance of Ficus spp. fruits. Our results show broad similarities between arboreal, forest-dwelling gray-cheeked mangabeys and their more terrestrial, open habitat-dwelling papionin relatives in the importance of dominance rank in estrous cycle initiation, first reproduction, and reproductive aging.
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May 15, 2014

Lynne A Isbell