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

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (Impact Factor: 2.35). 09/2009; 63(10):1447-1458. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-009-0805-7
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Lynne A Isbell
    • "Alternatively, food site residence time (previously food site depletion time, i.e. the time an animal stays at a specific feeding site [Chancellor & Isbell, 2009]) has been suggested as the key characteristic affecting contest competition and female relationships [Isbell et al., 1998]. Only when residence time is long (enough) can high-ranking individuals contest and usurp a feeding site [Isbell & Young, 2002]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Investigating which factors influence feeding competition is crucial for our understanding of the diversity of social relationships. Socio-ecological models differ in their predictions whether predation risk directly influences feeding competition and which factors exactly predict contest competition. We investigated feeding competition in Siberut macaques (Macaca siberu), a species endemic to Siberut Island (West Sumatra, Indonesia). Siberut macaques experience low predation risk, as major predators (felids, raptors) are absent. They are therefore appropriate subjects to test the prediction that low predation risk reduces feeding competition. To estimate contest potential, we quantified size, spatial distribution and density of food plants, and the availability of alternative resources. We recorded behavior in food patches using a modified focal tree method. Food patches, sorted by decreasing average feeding group size, included large trees (40% of focal plant observations), lianas/strangler (16%), medium trees (9%), small (palm) trees (20%), and rattan (15%). Most food patches were clumped but occurred at low densities relative to the area of average group spread. Thus, availability of alternative food patches was low. Although food patch characteristics indicate high contest potential, the observed aggression rate (0.13 bouts between adults/h) was low relative to other primates. Average feeding group size was small relative to total group size, and feeding group size matched crown volume. Perceived predation risk was low, based on spatial and feeding behavior of juveniles. Together, these results suggest that predation risk may influence feeding competition. Social and temporal factors (patch feeding time), but not ecological factors (fruit abundance in patch and forest, alternative resources) predicted aggression frequency in food patches. Overall, comparative data are still relatively scarce, and researchers should collect more data on group spread, sub-grouping, perceived predation risk, and aggression in food patches before we can draw final conclusions about the role of predation risk for feeding competition. Am. J. Primatol. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · American Journal of Primatology
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    • "Gray - cheeked mangabeys ' maturation and reproductive aging appear to be similar to baboons , mandrills macaques , and other papionins that are typically more terrestrial , suggesting that broad habitat preferences exert little influence on females ' reproductive performance . Female gray - cheeked mangabeys live in female - resident groups with linear domi - nance hierarchies ( Chancellor and Isbell 2009a , b ) . Regardless of their ranks , all females are able to breed , albeit with different success . "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · International Journal of Primatology
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    • "For example, a species of intertidal snail (Nucella melones) consumes 21 prey taxa, but any one individual consumes only one to five of these taxa, ignoring prey species eaten by others. In the case of gray‐cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena) and redtail monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius ), high ranking females use agonism to monopolize sodium rich bark [Chancellor & Isbell, 2009; Rode et al., 2006; Rothman et al., 2012]. Thus, group members may exhibit alternative feeding strategies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recently several studies have focused on the structure of ecological networks to provide insights into ecological and coevolutionary dynamics of interacting species. However, rarely have the tools of ecological networks been used to understand how feeding relationships vary among individuals of the same population. Here we use 7 years of data and network analyzed to examine the intrapopulation diet variation in a group of howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata). We show that individual monkey-resource food webs are nested, but not modular and the stability of these patterns is independent of time of day or season. Our findings indicated that individuals do not forage randomly when compared to null models and that the diets of more selective monkeys represent subsets of the diets of other individuals. Moreover, there are no subgroups that eat a particular set of available plant species more frequently than other sets, suggesting that the spatial strategy of group foraging plays an important role in the feeding ecology of each group given that individuals of the same group tend to share similar resources while the group remains at a feeding site. Since the diets of more selective individuals are a subset of other monkeys, we suggest that more selective monkeys are able to outcompete others for preferred foods. Additionally, we did not observe differences in nutritional content or spatial abundance of more frequently eaten plant species when compared with less frequently eaten species, but in most cases, the more frequently eaten plant species were Ficus (Moraceae). This reinforces the important role that Ficus trees play in howler monkey feeding ecology, likely due to its year-round availability. Am. J. Primatol. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · American Journal of Primatology
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