International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 271–289 | Cite as

Subgrouping Patterns in a Group of Wild Cebus apella nigritus

Article

Abstract

Seasonal patterns of group fragmentation, including the size of subgroups and percentage of time spent in subgroups, may provide information on individual decision-making in response to resource distribution. Age-sex class composition of subgroup membership can offer insights into the social dynamics of the group as a whole. At most field sites, capuchins (Cebus spp.) form stable groups with no evidence of group fragmentation. Here I describe seasonal subgrouping patterns, including proportion of time spent in subgroups, subgroup size, age-sex membership, dyadic fidelity, stability of membership, and the effect of subgrouping on individual foraging efficiency, in a group of wild Cebus apella nigritus. From September 1996 to August 1997 the study group at the Estação Biológica de Caratinga, Brazil divided into 148 different subgroups, on 99 of 194 census days. In contrast to expectations for subgrouping patterns as a response to seasonal distribution of resources, the proportion of days spent in subgroups did not vary significantly by season. Subgroup composition was relatively fluid, with multimale multifemale subgroups the most common throughout the year. Unimale multifemale subgroups were restricted to the wet season; in contrast, all-male subgroups and unimale unifemale subgroups occurred in the dry season. For both males and females, low rank predicted membership in smaller subgroups. For males, but not females, subgrouping coincided with increased foraging efficiency, as measured by increased time spent ingesting food and decreased time spent traveling on days with subgrouping compared to days with the group in a cohesive unit.

Keywords

capuchins fission group size seasonality subgroups 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Karen B. Strier (University of Wisconsin-Madison), José Rímoli (Universidade Católica Dom Bosco), David Morales Torres (Universidad Veracruzana), Sérgio Lucena Mendes (Museo de Biologia Mello Leitão), and Michael Edward Alfaro (Washington State University). Alice Guimarães, Andreia Silene Oliva, Laiena Texeira Dib, Rogério Ribeiro dos Santos, Jairo Gomes, Eduardo Veado, and the EBC staff made work at Caratinga a pleasure. This research was supported by grants from Fulbright/IIE, Wenner-Gren Foundation (Predoctoral Grant 6068), Tinker Foundation/Nave Fund, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, College Hall 208 and Center for Reproductive BiologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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