Diet and dominance among female vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops)

Authors

  • Patricia L. Whitten

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Current affiliation:
    1. Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center Field Station, Emory University, 2409 Collins Hill Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30245
    • Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center Field Station, Emory University, 2409 Collins Hill Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30245
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Abstract

Behavioral observations of free-ranging female vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) suggest that priority of access to food enhances individual fitness. Seventeen adult females living in two social groups were observed for 26 months in the Samburu/Isiolo Game Reserves, northern Kenya. Priority of access to feeding and sitting sites was associated with significant differences in diet and reproduction. Food species distribution altered rank-related differences in diet. Rank-related differences in diet occurred when food items were clumped in distribution, but not when they were randomly distributed. The relation of individual food items to reproduction influenced rank-related differences in reproduction. Rank was significantly correlated with birth rate when a preferred food species was clumped in distribution.

Ancillary