Anting in a Semifree-ranging Group of Cebus apella

  • M. P. VerderaneEmail author
  • T. Falótico
  • B. D. Resende
  • M. B. Labruna
  • P. Izar
  • E. B. Ottoni

Capuchins apply many organic materials, especially leaves, to their skin. Protection against ectoparasites is the most commonly discussed explanation for the behavior. We describe fur rubbing with carpenter ants(Camponotus rufipes) by semifree-ranging tufted capuchins(Cebus apella) in the Tietê Ecological Park, São Paulo, Brazil. Carpenter ants produce and secrete high concentrations of formic acid, which repels tick nymphs. Anting occurred significantly more often during months of seasonal incidence of nymphs of the tick Amblyomma cajennense, and the behavior was not related to ant-eating. We argue that anting behavior in tufted capuchins fits the hypothesis of protection against ectoparasites.


anting Cebus formic acid repellent tick nymphs 



This work was supported by FAPESP (E. B. Ottoni: 03/10270-3, T. Falótico: 03/03094-4, M. P. Verderane: 03/03095-0, B. D. Resende: 99/11573-2) and CAPES (P. Izar: 00022/03-9). We thank Tietê Ecological Park for permission to conduct the study and Maria Santina for identification of ants. There is a pending patent for formic acid as a tick repellent (Deposit No. 0762-0044, from 03/24/2005).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Verderane
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. Falótico
    • 1
  • B. D. Resende
    • 1
  • M. B. Labruna
    • 2
  • P. Izar
    • 1
  • E. B. Ottoni
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and ZootechnyUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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