• Cebus apella;
  • feeding behavior;
  • foraging;
  • inequity


It has been claimed that capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) show inequity aversion in relation to food rewards for a simple exchange task. However, other factors may affect the willingness of a monkey to consume foods of high or low value in the presence of a conspecific. In this study, pairs of monkeys were presented with unequally valued foods, but without any task-performance: they simply received the food under four experimental conditions. By looking at the rate of collection and consumption of low-valued cucumber slices we expected to see variation dependent on whether the partner either had 1) cucumber (equity), 2) grape (inequity), 3) inaccessible cucumber or 4) inaccessible grape. Testing 12 adult capuchin monkeys, our findings differed from those of other authors in that the monkeys failed to show negative reactions to inequity, but rather responded with scramble competition (i.e., fast food collection) in the presence of a conspecific without access to food. They also showed facilitated consumption in the presence of a conspecific consuming high-valued food. Possibly, (in)equity plays a different role if food serves as a reward for a task rather than if it is simply made available for consumption. Am. J. Primatol. 69:1–9, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.