International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 337–355 | Cite as

Scramble Competition Among Colobus vellerosus at Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana

  • T. L. SajEmail author
  • P. Sicotte


We investigated the occurrence of scramble competition among Colobus vellerosus at Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana. If scramble competition had an impact on feeding efficiency among females, we expected a positive relationship between group size and the proportion of time spent feeding, day journey length, or home range size assuming resource availability is similar among the groups compared. We collected focal data on the feeding behavior of adult females and males over 11 mo (September 2000–August 2001) on 2 study groups: WW (n = 31–33 individuals) and B (n = 8–16 individuals). We also collected ranging data on group movements at half-hour intervals. The large group (WW1) had a significantly longer day journey length than the small group (B1), and females in the large group spent a significantly greater proportion of time feeding in the wet season, a period of low food availability, which suggests it may be a bottleneck period when food resources are scarce and Colobus vellerosus is close to being energy limited. The proximity data suggested females may be able to reduce or adjust for competition by having fewer neighbors when they feed and by spreading out when in a larger group. However, we found no relationship between home range size and group size or that females spent a greater proportion of time feeding than adult males did. Our results highlight the need to factor in differences in food availability when investigating scramble competition. Though equivocal, our results suggest scramble competition occurs among Colobus vellerosus, leading us to suggest there was a match with the potential competitive regime, i.e., food distribution.


adult females black-and-white colobus folivory food competition group size socioecological model 



We thank the Ghana Wildlife Division and the BFMS Management Committee for permission to work at BFMS, and Mr. Anthony Dassah (Senior Wildlife Officer at BFMS), Julie Teichroeb, Andrew MacIntosh, Constance Serwaa, and Moses Ampofo for assistance in the field. We thank 2 reviewers for their valuable contributions and Mary Pavelka, Scott McGraw, Robert Longair, and Warren Wilson, who provided helpful comments on an earlier version of the article. We thank Dr. T. Fung, Information Technologies, University of Calgary, for his assistance with statistical analyses. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, an Izaak Walton Killam Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the University of Calgary, the Calgary Institute for the Humanities, an ASP conservation grant, Primate Conservation Inc., and the Calgary Zoo Conservation Fund funded our research, which was approved by the Animal Care Certification Committee of the University of Calgary.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyMcGill UniversityW. MontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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