Positional behavior in five sympatric old world monkeys



Observations of positional behavior and habitat use were recorded on focal individuals of five species of Old World monkeys at Kibale Forest, Uganda, through the dry season of 1990 and 1991. Cercopithecus ascanius, Cercopithecus mitis, Cercocebus albigena, Colobus badius, and Colobus guereza commonly utilize five similar types of positional behavior (i.e., quadrupedalism, leaping, climbing, sitting, and standing), but in varying frequencies and situations. As a group, colobines use oblique supports and leap more often, and cover greater linear distances during leaps than do cercopithecines. Colobines also prefer to sit (about 90% of all postures), while cercopithecines stand more frequently. Body size differences between the sexes of a species are not reflected in positional behavior. The two small-bodied species climb more and leap less often than the three larger species, which is the reverse of what we would expect. Leaping is the most common method of crossing open spaces within the canopy; but most spatial gaps and leaps are over short distances, usually one meter or less. All five species, regardless of body size or the availability of forest supports, prefer mediumsized supports. Incorporating our work from Uganda with previous investigations of positional behavior reveals few consistent trends with respect to body size or habitat use across primates. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.