, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 287–297 | Cite as

Alternation of sleeping groves by yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) as a strategy for parasite avoidance

  • Glenn Hausfater
  • B. Jean Meade


The primary locus of contact between free-living yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in the Amboseli National Park of Kenya and the infective stages of their intestinal parasites is believed to be soil beneath sleeping trees contaminated by the baboons' own fecal emissions. In this report, we present evidence both that infective ova and larvae of intestinal parasites are found at very high densities in the soil beneath sleeping groves and that Amboseli baboons substantially reduce their contact with this reservoir of parasites by alternating periods of a few consecutive nights' use of any particular grove with much longer periods of avoidance of that grove. Although many factors other than the presence of parasite larvae also influence choice of sleeping groves, we propose as a working hypothesis that the temporal pattern of sleeping grove alternation shown by Amboseli baboons reflects a subtle behavioral strategy for parasite avoidance.


Temporal Pattern Animal Ecology Behavioral Strategy Intestinal Parasite Infective Stage 
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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn Hausfater
    • 1
  • B. Jean Meade
    • 2
  1. 1.Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Division of Biological SciencesCornell University, Langmuir LaboratoryIthacaU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of BiologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgU.S.A.

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