International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 509–519

Resource patch size and flexible foraging in white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus)

  • Kim A. Phillips

DOI: 10.1007/BF02735800

Cite this article as:
Phillips, K.A. Int J Primatol (1995) 16: 509. doi:10.1007/BF02735800


White-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus)on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, have a flexible foraging strategy. Typically, foraging party size is small and individuals feed dispersed from one another. When seasonal fruiting of large volume trees occurs, the majority of the group forages simultaneously. As C. capucinusdo not display a rigorous dominance structure and there are few indications that individuals or coalitions monopolize food patches,individuals are expected to display scramble strategies instead of high frequencies of contest competition. I recorded foraging party size (simultaneous foragers), the total number of animals to feed successively, and the diameter at breast height (DBH) of fruit trees used in two habituated troops. Individuals in each group spent a substantial amount of time — 65 and 48% of foraging time for each group — foraging in party sizes of one. Monkeys predominantly foraged alone in small trees (0- to 20- cm DBH), successively in medium trees (21- to 60- cm DBH), and simultaneously in large trees (>61- cm DBH). They used small trees more frequently than all other tree classes. In medium-sized trees, although fruit was plentiful, space was limited. In these trees Cebusforaged successively. In large-volume trees, space and fruit were abundant and several individuals fed together. As the DBH of fruiting trees increased, the average foraging party size increased exponentially. Cebus capucinusat Barro Colorado Island modify their foraging party size to adapt to the seasonal patterns of fruit production.

Key words

Cebuspatch usewhite-faced capuchinssocioecologyfeeding ecology

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim A. Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthens
  2. 2.Departments of Biology and PsychologyHiram CollegeHiram