, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 275-286

The behavior of white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) at a dry-season waterhole

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Abstract

During a study of white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) in Santa Rosa National Park, northwest Costa Rica, the study troop drank daily from a single terrestrial waterhole for approximately three months during the dry season. The drinking order of troop members at the waterhole was not random: adult males tended to be in the first quartile of the drinking progression, adult females generally occurred with equal frequency throughout the progression, and juveniles drank most commonly in the third quartile. There were also differences in the usual drinking ranks among individuals of the same age-sex class. It is hypothesized that those adult males which are usually first in the progression are increasing their personal fitness by reducing the risk of predation on their offspring and on potential mates. The tendency of adult females to precede juveniles may similarly reflect protection of offspring.

The daily visits to the waterhole by the study troop did not appear to greatly restrict the use of their range. It is suggested, however, that the availability of standing sources of water may be an important factor affecting the local distribution and density of capuchins in seasonally and chronically dry areas.