Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 115-122

First online:

Variable resource defense by the Tana River crested mangabey

  • Margaret F. KinnairdAffiliated withDepartment of Wildlife and Range Sciences, University of FloridaThe Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya

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Behavioral observations over 16 months of two groups of Tana River crested mangabeys (Cercocebus galeritus galeritus) in East Africa provide evidence, contrary to previous reports, for site-specific aggression and territorial exclusion. In addition, movements and vocal responses to neighboring group's long-call vocalizations vary temporally, reflecting seasonal variation in food availability and distribution. Patterns of response to neighboring groups are consistent with the hypothesis that resources should be defended only when it is economic to do so. When fruit resources are rare intergroup interactions are infrequent and groups use separate areas. As fruit availability increases, the distribution of diet species influences the type of interaction; peaceful intergroup interactions generally occur when mangabeys eat uniformly distributed species and aggressive interactions occur when mangabeys eat species with patchy distributions. Differences between male vocal responses and group spatial responses may reflect conflicting objectives of territorial defense by males and females.