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Female dispersal patterns in six groups of ursine colobus (Colobus vellerosus): infanticide avoidance is important

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[Under the dispersal/foraging efficiency model, colobines are predicted to be 'indifferent mothers', neither facilitating philopatry for their daughters nor evicting them from the natal home range because food competition is thought to be slight. We observed six groups of Colobus vellerosus at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in Ghana (2000–2007) and recorded changes in female composition caused by observed (N = 11) and inferred (N = 12) emigrations and immigrations (N = 3). We also observed 14 immigration attempts. Most emigrating females were subadult and nulliparous. Parallel emigration was frequent. Resident females behaved aggressively to immigrating females and immigration attempts were rarely successful. Voluntary female emigration (N = 10) occurred mostly when male group membership was unstable or in association with the immigration of all-male bands. Involuntary emigrations (N = 13) associated with increased female–female aggression occurred in the two largest groups, where parous females targeted nulliparous maturing females. Larger groups tended to lose females and female immigration was successful only in the study group with the lowest number of females. Females appear to emigrate to reduce infanticide threat although feeding competition is reduced in smaller groups as well. C. vellerosus at BFMS are better described as 'incomplete suppressors'., Under the dispersal/foraging efficiency model, colobines are predicted to be 'indifferent mothers', neither facilitating philopatry for their daughters nor evicting them from the natal home range because food competition is thought to be slight. We observed six groups of Colobus vellerosus at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in Ghana (2000–2007) and recorded changes in female composition caused by observed (N = 11) and inferred (N = 12) emigrations and immigrations (N = 3). We also observed 14 immigration attempts. Most emigrating females were subadult and nulliparous. Parallel emigration was frequent. Resident females behaved aggressively to immigrating females and immigration attempts were rarely successful. Voluntary female emigration (N = 10) occurred mostly when male group membership was unstable or in association with the immigration of all-male bands. Involuntary emigrations (N = 13) associated with increased female–female aggression occurred in the two largest groups, where parous females targeted nulliparous maturing females. Larger groups tended to lose females and female immigration was successful only in the study group with the lowest number of females. Females appear to emigrate to reduce infanticide threat although feeding competition is reduced in smaller groups as well. C. vellerosus at BFMS are better described as 'incomplete suppressors'.]

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853909x426363
2009-04-01
2015-07-07

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4

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