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, 71 (1), 49-59

Test of the Ecological-Constraints Model on Ursine Colobus Monkeys (Colobus Vellerosus) in Ghana


Test of the Ecological-Constraints Model on Ursine Colobus Monkeys (Colobus Vellerosus) in Ghana

Julie A Teichroeb et al. Am J Primatol.


For group-living mammals, the ecological-constraints model predicts that within-group feeding competition will increase as group size increases, necessitating more daily travel to find food and thereby constraining group size. It provides a useful tool for detecting scramble competition any time it is difficult to determine whether or not food is limiting. We tested the ecological-constraints model on highly folivorous ursine colobus monkeys (Colobus vellerosus) at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in Ghana. Three differently sized groups were followed for 13 months and two others were followed for 6 months each in 2004-2005 using focal-animal sampling and ranging scans; ecological plots and phenology surveys were used to determine home-range quality and food availability. There was relatively little difference in home-range quality, monthly food availability, diet, adult female ingestion rates, and rate of travel within food patches between the groups. However, home-range size, day-range length, and percent of time spent feeding all increased with group size. We performed a single large test of the ecological-constraints model by combining several separate Spearman correlations, each testing different predictions under the model, using Fisher's log-likelihood method. It showed that the ecological-constraints model was supported in this study; scramble competition in this population is manifesting in increased ranging and time spent feeding. How costly this increased energy expenditure is for individuals in larger groups remains to be determined.

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