Effects of water level on sleeping-site selection and inter-group association in proboscis monkeys: why do they sleep alone inland on flooded days?
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- Matsuda, I., Tuuga, A. & Higashi, S. Ecol Res (2010) 25: 475. doi:10.1007/s11284-009-0677-3
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A one-male group (BE-Group) of proboscis monkeys was studied along the Menanggul River, a tributary of the Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Malaysia, from May 2005 to 2006. It has generally been assumed that proboscis monkeys only set up their sleeping sites along the riverbank; however, when more than 1 m of water covered the forest floor for more than 700 m inland from the riverbank during the seasonal flood, the BE-Group slept inside the forest. It seems that the sleeping-site selection of the BE-Group was not influenced by food availability during the flooded months because the food availability by the vegetational survey did not vary much between flooded and non-flooded months. In addition, feeding behaviors of the focal monkey in the BE-Group also did not vary much between flooded and non-flooded days. On the other hand, the water level statistically influenced the sleeping-site selection. The proboscis monkeys remained in inland forest during the flooded days because of the reduced predation threat, as terrestrial predators such as clouded leopards are prevented from foraging by deep water covering the forest floor. On non-flooded days when the BE-Group slept at the riverbank, they frequently slept close to other one-male groups on the riverside trees. Contrastingly, when the group slept inside the forest on flooded days when the water level was high, they slept away from other groups. This difference in the need for one-male groups to sleep close to each other might be attributed to the decreased predation threat during high water level in the flooded days.