Food transfers to young and mates in wild owl monkeys (Aotus azarai)



Accounts of food sharing within natural populations of mammals have focused on transfers to offspring or transfers of food items that are difficult to obtain (such as meat). Five groups of socially monogamous owl monkeys (Aotus azarai azarai) in Formosa, Argentina were observed during 107 hr to determine the pattern of food sharing under natural conditions. There were a total of 42 social interactions involving food with food being transferred on eight occasions. Adult males transferred food to young more often than did adult females. All types of food that were readily obtained and eaten by all age/sex classes were transferred to young. Adult females also transferred food to their mates. This type of food sharing is very rare among animals and may have social benefits specific to monogamous mammals with paternal care. Am. J. Primatol. 70:211–221, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.