Original Article

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 333-344

First online:

Rank differences in energy intake rates in white-faced capuchin monkeys, Cebus capucinus: the effects of contest competition

  • Erin R. VogelAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook UniversityZoological Institute and Museum, University of HamburgPresent address: Department of Anthropology, University of California Email author 

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The effect of aggressive competition over food resources on energy intake rate is analyzed for individuals of three groups of 25–35 white-faced capuchin monkeys, Cebus capucinus, living in and near Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve, Costa Rica. An individual’s energy intake rate on a given food species was affected by its rank and the number of agonistic interactions within the feeding tree. Dominant group members had higher energy intake rates relative to subordinate group members whether or not there was agonism within the feeding tree. Low- and mid-ranked individuals had lower energy intake rates in trees with higher amounts of aggression, while energy intake rate of high-ranked individuals was not affected by the amount of aggression in the feeding tree. Energy intake was not influenced by the sex of the individual when rank was held constant statistically. Energy intake was positively correlated with total crown energy (measured in kilojoules) within the feeding tree for two of three study groups. This difference may be explained by the quality of each group’s territory. Finally, high-ranked individuals are responsible for the majority of agonism within feeding trees and target middle- and low-ranked individuals equally. These findings fit the predictions of current socioecological models for within-group contest competition over food resources. The results of this study suggest that within-group competition affects energy intake rate in white-faced capuchin monkeys.


Agonism Within-group competition Capuchins Contest Socioecology