Predation on Primates: A Biogeographical Analysis

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Abstract

Measuring the magnitude of predation has been deemed an important task in clarifying aspects of primate ecology (Terborgh & Janson, 1986). This goal is in keeping with a general theoretical shift noted by (1985) toward acknowledgment that predation often has a greater impact than resource competition on individual animals through behavior and life history; on prey populations through size and stability; and on ecosystems through diversity and relative abundance patterns. Biogeography, as a comparative observational science dealing with spatial and temporal scales too large for experimentation, seeks patterns of biodiversity upon which theories may be formulated (Brown & Lomolino, 1996). Primate predation studies benefit from a biogeographical approach when primates and their predators are assessed from the standpoint of four major regions: Africa, Madagascar, Asia, and the Neotropics. Since predation is thought to have affected morphological, ecological, and behavioral traits in primates (Hart, 2000; Zuberbühler & Jenny, 2002), a comparison of the four regions may facilitate identification of broad biogeographic patterns that are associated with predation.