When top-down becomes bottom up: behaviour of hyperdense howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus) trapped on a 0.6 ha island.
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Predators are a ubiquitous presence in most natural environments. Opportunities to contrast the behaviour of a species in the presence and absence of predators are thus rare. Here we report on the behaviour of howler monkey groups living under radically different conditions on two land-bridge islands in Lago Guri, Venezuela. One group of 6 adults inhabited a 190-ha island (Danto) where they were exposed to multiple potential predators. This group, the control, occupied a home range of 23 ha and contested access to food resources with neighbouring groups in typical fashion. The second group, containing 6 adults, was isolated on a remote, predator-free 0.6 ha islet (Iguana) offering limited food resources. Howlers living on the large island moved, fed and rested in a coherent group, frequently engaged in affiliative activities, rarely displayed agonistic behaviour and maintained intergroup spacing through howling. In contrast, the howlers on Iguana showed repulsion, as individuals spent most of their time spaced widely around the perimeter of the island. Iguana howlers rarely engaged in affiliative behaviour, often chased or fought with one another and were not observed to howl. These behaviors are interpreted as adjustments to the unrelenting deprivation associated with bottom-up limitation in a predator-free environment.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1371/journal.pone.0082197
Publication InfoCeballos, N; Glander, Kenneth Earl; Orihuela, G; & Terborgh, John (2014). When top-down becomes bottom up: behaviour of hyperdense howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus) trapped on a 0.6 ha island. PLoS One, 9(4). pp. e82197. 10.1371/journal.pone.0082197. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/16153.
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Professor Emeritus of Evolutionary Anthropology
Primate ecology and social organization: the interaction between feeding patterns and social structure; evolutionary development of optimal group size and composition; factors affecting short and long-term demographic changes in stable groups; primate use of regenerating forests.
James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences
John W. Terborgh is a James B. Duke Professor of Environmental Science and is Co-Director of the Center for Tropical Conservation at Duke University. He is a member of the National Academy of Science, and for the past thirty-five years, he has been actively involved in tropical ecology and conservation issues. An authority on avian and mammalian ecology in neotropical forests, Dr. Terborgh has published numerous articles and books on conservation themes. Since 1973 he has operated a field statio
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