The role of anthropic, ecological, and social factors in sleeping site choice by long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)

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Abstract

When choosing their sleeping sites, primates make adaptive trade-offs between various biotic and abiotic constraints. In human-modified environments, anthropic factors may play a role. We assessed the influence of ecological (predation), social (intergroup competition), and anthropic (proximity to human settlements) factors in sleeping site choice by long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) occupying a habitat at the interface of natural forests and human-modified zones in Bali Barat National Park, Indonesia. Over the course of 56 nights, we collected data relating to physical features of sleeping trees, patterns of the use of sleeping sites within the home range, pre-sleep behavior, diurnal ranging patterns and availability of natural and human food. Overall, the macaques used 17 sleeping sites with 37 sleeping trees. When the monkeys slept in forest zones, they selected sleeping trees that had larger trunks but were not significantly taller than surrounding trees. Though the macaques rarely re-used sleeping sites on consecutive nights, they frequently re-used four sites over the study period. The group favored sleeping within the core area of its home range, despite the occurrence of frequent agonistic intergroup encounters there. Macaques preferentially selected sleeping trees located within or near human-modified zones, especially when human food was abundant and natural food was scarce. These results partially support the hypothesis that long-tailed macaques choose their sleeping sites to avoid predation; proximity to human settlements appears to be the primary factor influencing sleeping site choice in this primate species. Our results reflect the strong influence that anthropic factors have on primates, which subsist in increasingly human-dominated landscapes. Am. J. Primatol. 76:1140–1150, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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