, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 277-286

Responses to a snake model in captive crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and captive tufted capuchins (Cebus apella)

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Abstract

The responses to a model snake in captive crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and captive tufted capuchins (Cebus apella) were investigated. In both species the amount of fear behavior was higher in the presence of the model than during baseline conditions. Unlike the macaques, in the capuchins the frequency of these behaviors decreased across trials. In the two species the amount of explorative and manipulative behaviors and the use of space were also different. Unlike macaques, all capuchins manipulated the objects available in the testing room, and three subjects contacted the apparatus by using objects. Macaques did not show significant preferences for any particular part of the testing room. In both conditions, capuchins used the floor more than macaques did. Further, capuchins increased the use of the floor across experimental trials. Latency to reach the floor was higher in macaques than in capuchins. When on the floor, capuchins spent most of the time close to the snake apparatus. It is proposed that the behavioral differences between capuchins and macaques in the responses to a potential predator indicate that capuchins have a greater propensity to explore and to contact the novel stimulus directly, or by means of objects, than macaques do. These tendencies may lead to the exploitation of novel features in the environment.