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Keywords:

  • agonistic interactions;
  • Cercopithecus aethiops;
  • dominance;
  • Erythrocebus patas;
  • socio-ecology

Abstract

The socio-ecological model predicts that the quality, distribution, and patch size of food resources determines the dominance hierarchy of female monkeys based on the type of food competition they experience. Comparative studies of closely related species have evaluated the socio-ecological model and confirmed its validity. For example, female patas monkeys in Laikipia, Kenya, form a nonlinear and unstable dominance hierarchy (i.e., egalitarian), whereas females of sympatric, closely related savannah monkeys form a linear and stable dominance hierarchy (i.e., despotic), in accordance with the model's predictions of the characteristics of food resources. I compared agonistic interactions involving food between patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) and sympatric savannah monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) in Kala Maloue, Cameroon. I found linear dominance hierarchies not only in savannah monkeys, but also in patas monkeys in Kala Maloue. The rates of agonistic interactions during feeding between patas monkeys were equivalent to those between savannah monkeys in Kala Maloue; further, these rates were significantly higher than those of both Laikipia patas and savannah monkeys. The results imply that patas monkeys in Kala Maloue are not egalitarian, but are despotic, similar to savannah monkeys. Disparity in the dominance hierarchies of patas monkeys between Kala Maloue and Laikipia were attributable to the differences in the characteristics of food resources. Although patas monkeys in Laikipia subsist on small and dispersed food resources within a high-density area, those in Kala Maloue subsisted on food resources that were clumped in intermediate-sized patches within a low-density area. This study shows that the socio-ecological model is applicable not only for interspecific comparisons but also for intraspecific comparisons. Am. J. Primatol. 70:238–246, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.