Seasonal Changes in Male Associative Behavior and Subgrouping of Alouatta palliata on an Island

Authors: Dias, Pedro; Luna, Ernesto

Source: International Journal of Primatology, Volume 27, Number 6, December 2006 , pp. 1635-1651(17)

Publisher: Springer

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Howler groups are usually spatially cohesive and stable in composition; however, more flexible grouping patterns occur in some social groups. We analyzed the associative and subgrouping patterns of males living in a group with fission-fusion social organization. Based on information from previous studies on Alouatta palliata and other primates and in the current socioecological models, we established initial predictions on the variations in male behavior according to several socioecological factors. We studied associative behavior via scan sampling at 15-min intervals to register the identity of males in the subgroups and the presence and number of receptive females. We calculated an association index that was then transformed into a measure of association strength. We found individual association trends, as well as important seasonal differences in the subgrouping patterns of males. During the dry season the presence of many receptive females resulted in reduced levels of association, and therefore fewer males per subgroup. The scenario changed during the wet season, when males grouped together significantly more and kinship relationships were a major determinant for individual association preferences.

Keywords: Alouatta palliata; grouping patterns; interindividual association; male behavior; seasonality

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: December 1, 2006

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