Dispersal in male ursine colobus monkeys (Colobus vellerosus): Influence of age, rank and contact with other groups on dispersal decisions

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Dispersal is male-biased in ursine colobus monkeys (Colobus vellerosus), although female dispersal also occurs (Teichroeb et al., 2009). Here we describe the process of male dispersal and its connection with between-group encounters (BGEs, N = 444) and male incursions (when males left their group and approached within 50 m of another group; N = 128) at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in central Ghana. Through BGEs and incursions, particularly those with non-aggressive interactions between individuals in different groups (BGEs, N = 17; incursions, N = 4), males could probably assess other groups for dispersal opportunities. There was a trend for males to perform incursions more frequently before emigrating voluntarily than involuntarily. Incursions were often performed towards the group that the male eventually transferred to. Incursions by alpha males were temporally shorter and more aggressive than those by non-alpha males. We suggest that non-alpha males used incursions to assess other groups for breeding or dispersal opportunities, whereas alpha males performed incursions mainly to convey information about their quality to neighbouring males and females. Male emigrations/disappearances (natal N = 20, secondary N = 43, unknown N = 9) and immigrations (N = 62) were recorded for seven groups during ten years (2000- 2010). Alpha males always emigrated involuntarily. Parallel emigration and immigration occurred. Males often immigrated into groups with a more favourable adult male/adult female ratio and improved their rank, both of which likely increased their mating opportunities. The most fitting ultimate explanation for both natal and secondary male dispersal in this population was the intrasexual competition for mates hypothesis, as males of all ages appeared to emigrate to improve their reproductive opportunities. © 2011 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.






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Teichroeb, JA, EC Wikberg and P Sicotte (2011). Dispersal in male ursine colobus monkeys (Colobus vellerosus): Influence of age, rank and contact with other groups on dispersal decisions. Behaviour, 148(7). pp. 765–793. 10.1163/000579511X577157 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9187.

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