Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 125-138

First online:

Aggresive competition and individual food consumption in wild brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)

  • Charles JansonAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Washington

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The impact of aggresive competition on food intake at all the resources used is analysed for every member of a group of brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) in the Manu National Park, Peru, where they live in groups of 8–14 animals. An individual's food intake at a given tree was affected independently both by its domirance rank (Fig. 1) and by how much aggression it received (Table 5). Food intake was not strongly affected by body size when dominance rank was held constant by partial correlation. At food sources where high rates of fighting occurred, an individual's food intake depended more on its domirance status than on the rate of aggression it received (Fig. 2). However, food intake at resources where rates of fighting were low depended mostly on the rate of aggression received. When aggression over food was absent, the food intakes of dominants and subordinates were equal. Dominants had significantly greater total energy intake (20.5% more) than did subordinates, even though more than one third of their diet came from food sources where little or no fighting occurred (Fig. 3). Energy intake was also significantly greater for individuals that received little aggression. The only adult that emigrated from the main study group was the individua with the lowest energy intake. Competition for food within groups was more than ten times as intense as competition between brown capuchin groups.