Environmental effects on group structure and vigilance in vervet monkeys

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Pasternak, Graham M.
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology, c2011
Narrow riparian woodlands along non-perennial streams have made it possible for vervet monkeys to penetrate the semi-arid karoo ecosystem of South Africa, while artificial water points have more recently allowed these populations to colonize much more marginal habitat away from natural water sources. In order to determine the sequelae of life in these narrow, linear woodlands for historically 'natural' populations, I determined the size of troops in relation to their reliance on natural and artificial water sources and collected detailed data from two river-centred troops on activity, diet and ranging behaviour over an annual cycle. These data indicate that river-centred troops were distinctive primarily for their large group sizes and, consequently, their large adult cohorts, and the extent of home range overlap in what is regarded as a territorial species. While large group size carried the corollary of increased day journey length and longer estimated interbirth intervals, there was little other indication of ecological stress. Specifically, the rate of predation appears to be lower than observed at other sites. Predation encounters here, encourage the use of predator vigilance rather than influencing the use of space within the habitat. The high density of Acacia karoo, which accounted for a third of annual foraging effort in what was a relatively depauperate floristic habitat, allows for an adequate energy intake for groups of this size. I ascribed the large group size and home range overlap to the inability of groups to undergo fission.
xiii, 79 leaves : ill., maps ; 29 cm
Cercopithecus aethiops -- Research -- South Africa -- Samara Game Reserve , Cercopithecus aethiops -- South Africa -- Samara Game Reserve -- Geographical distribution , Cercopithecus aethiops -- Migration -- South Africa -- Samara Game Reserve , Cercopithecus aethiops -- Effect of environment on -- South Africa -- Samara Game Reserve , Riparian forests -- South Africa -- Samara Game Reserve , Animal societies -- Research , Primates -- Research -- South Africa -- Samara Game Reserve , Dissertations, Academic