The effects of foraging demand on social interactions in a laboratory group of Bonnet Macaques
- Cite this article as:
- Plimpton, E.H., Swartz, K.B. & Rosenblum, L.A. Int J Primatol (1981) 2: 175. doi:10.1007/BF02693448
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The relationship between foraging demand and social behavior was experimentally studied in a laboratory group of bonnet macaques. Fourteen adult animals were housed in a large outdoor enclosure containing three shallow gravelfilled circular containers that served as the foraging sites. During the experimental foraging sessions raisins were placed in the containers and the social and foraging behaviors of the group were observed for 50 min following the distribution of raisins. Three types of foraging conditions were inter-spersed with one another on different test days: (1) surface load— raisins placed on top of the gravel; (2) buried load— raisins hidden underneath the gravel; and (3) sham load— no raisins placed at the foraging sites. Three basic foraging patterns, defined along a temporal dimension, were seen. One group of animals completed 50% of their total foraging by the end of the first 15 min. A second group foraged more steadily through the session. A third group foraged late, completing 50% of their foraging during the last half of the session. The foraging patterns were similar in the buried and surface condition, although the patterns were more compressed during the surface condition. More aggression and more avoidance of other animals occurred in the buried condition than in the surface condition. Very little foraging occurred during the sham condition. There was no clear relationship between the patterns of interaction during foraging and nonforaging observation sessions. The results suggest the value of manipulative laboratory studies in examining the relationship between ecological variables and social behavior in nonhuman primates.