Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 151-155

First online:

Primate home-range size and metabolic needs

  • Paul H. HarveyAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex
  • , T. H. Clutton-BrockAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Cambridge

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We test the hypothesis that cross-species variation in home range size across primates is determined by the metabolic needs of the animals occupying the home range and by their diet. Metabolic needs are calculated from published records of group structure, time spent in different activities and the metabolic costs of those activities. Data from 20 species demonstrate clear relationships between home range, diet and metabolic needs. Although correlations are in the expected directions, simple models relating diet to home range size and metabolic needs do not predict the functional relationships found. This may be because the data are inadequate or because the models are wrong. An empirical relationship between relative home-range size and diet distinguishes between the arboreal and terrestrial species in the sample.