Response to novel housing in two groups of captive tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)

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The influence of age, maternal status, and the presence of a group male on use of space was assessed in two groups of captive tufted capuchin monkeys that underwent a move from indoor housing to a larger outdoor facility. Both groups originally contained two adult males, but only one group retained a male after the move. Following the move, mothers spent less time on the ground when carrying their infants than they did when not carrying their infants. In the group with no male (1) individuals decreased time spent on the ground relative to pre-move levels, whereas no such difference was noted in the group with the male; (2) females spent more time carrying their infants than did females in the group with a male. In the group with the adult male, juveniles spent less time on the ground than did non-mother adult females, whereas no difference had existed prior to the move. Grooming rates dropped from pre-move to post-move, but the mean number of partners with which each animal was in contact increased. Measures of social behavior varied across post-move observation periods inversely to time spent on the ground. These results are consistent with the view that an individual’s relative vulnerability influences behavioral conservatism in novel environments, and suggests a relatively profound role for males in promoting exploration of new space in this species.


This article was originally published in Primates. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer-Verlag 2005