Interspecific spacing between gibbons (Hylobates klossii) and langurs (Presbytis potenziani) on Siberut Island, Indonesia



Spatial arrangement and social interactions of two sympatric and ecologically similar primate species, Hylobates klossii and Presbytis potenzianai, are described from field observations made between July 1972 and October 1974 on Siberut Island, Indonesia. Gibbon territories and langur home ranges overlap extensively. Because gibbons have the ability to supplant langurs at shared food sources, langurs are at a competitive disadvantage. To avoid or decrease the frequency of hostile interactions with gibbons, langurs locate their core areas on boundaries between adjacent gibbon territories, which permits langurs to retreat across these barriers in response to gibbon movements. Langurs further enhance segregration by leaving their sleeping trees earlier than gibbons, gaining additional feeding time on contested food sources. This form of interspecific spatial organization between gibbons and langurs resembles certain predator-prey spacing systems, where territorial boundaries between adjacent predators serve as sanctuaries for prey populations.