Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 333–344 | Cite as

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

  • Erin R. Vogel
Original Article


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 



This work could not have been done without the expert field assistance of Alexander Fuentes Jiménez, Juan Carlos Ordonez, Yoella Teplitsky, Thomas Pendergast, and Anastasia Cronin. I am grateful to the Costa Rican Servicio de Parques Nacionales and the ACT for granting me permission to work in Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve; Finca El Pelón de la Bajura for granting me permission to work on their private lands; Professor Dr. Joerg Ganzhorn, of the University of Hamburg, who generously analyzed the nutritional composition of the fruit eaten by white-face capuchins; my dissertation committee for all of their insights on previous versions of this manuscript; Charles Janson, Andreas Koenig, John Fleagle, Carel van Schaik, Ivan Chase; Waleed al Gharaibeh for statistical advise; Mitch Irwin, Oliver Schuelke, Julia Ostner, and three anonymous reviewers for comments and constructive criticism of a previous draft; and Julie Gros-Louis, Susan Perry, and Joseph Manson, who provided logistical assistance in the field. This research was funded by grants to E.R.V. from NSF (DIG 23720-1021441-1), the Leakey Foundation (431–1770A), the Organization for Tropical Studies, a Graduate Aid in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship, and the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook Slobodkin Research Award and Sokal Travel Award. This study complied with and was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and EvolutionStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Zoological Institute and MuseumUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Present address: Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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