, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 409-414

Association patterns of spider monkeys: the influence of ecology and sex on social organization

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Summary

In this paper I consider how the costs and benefits of group living in spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) vary between troop members. The results suggest that ecological factors set an upper limit to the number of spider monkeys that can associate and still efficiently exploit the available resources. In addition, the needs of the individual appears to influence the type and size of the subgroup it chooses. Adult males band together, travel over a large area, and are frequently sighted near the community's boundary. In contrast, adult females spend more time solitary than males and have association patterns that are strongly influenced by the presence of a dependent infant. Females with dependent infants tend to travel in small subgroups or alone, avoid the boundaries of the community's home range, and exhibit a restricted pattern of use of their range. The results suggest that males may be attempting to locate females with which they can breed, while mothers attempt to protect their infants by avoiding conspecifics and potentially dangerous situations near territorial boundaries.