Effects of Fruit Patch Availability on Feeding Subgroup Size and Spacing Patterns in Four Primate Species at Tinigua National Park, Colombia

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Abstract

We examined the effects of fruit patch size, density, and distribution on feeding subgroup size and feeding bout duration in four Neotropical primates—Lagothrix lagotricha, Ateles belzebuth, Cebus apella, and Alouatta seniculus—based on 2494 hr of focal animal sampling in Tinigua National Park, Colombia. All four species show positive correlations between patch size (tree diameter at breast height; DBH) and subgroup size (maximum number of individuals from the focal group feeding at the same time), but the determination coefficients are very low and this relationship does not seem to influence strongly the actual size of the groups. Ateles showed the weakest correlation between patch size and feeding party size, and their fission–fusion sociality is best explained as a mechanism to reduce intragroup competition rather than to adjust the subgroup size to the availability of patches. Feeding associations as well as proximal spacing patterns, in general, are more alike in species with similar ecological requirements.

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