1Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University, 2, University of Cocody
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Mixed-species associations are common in several primate radiations including cercopithecids. Participation in such associations provides important benefits such as increased predator protection, but may also involve significant costs including decreased foraging efficiency. Such costs are unlikely to be equally distributed among participating species and should vary with the tendency for a species to initiate and maintain an association.
In the Ivory Coast’s Tai Forest, Cercopithecus diana is the central species in a community of cercopithecids that regularly forms polyspecific assocations. Red colobus (Procolobus badius) at Tai are attracted to diana monkey groups and both experimental and long term data have shown that the diana monkey-red colobus association provides mutual benefits for both taxa. Associations mitigate predation pressure on P. badius from ground predators, especially chimpanzees, while C. diana is hypothesized to experiencereduced predation pressure from raptors. Although prior work demonstrated that diet overlap is not a significant cost to either species, it is not yet known if Diana monkey feeding ecology is affected by the presence of red colobus. Here, we examine the influence of association on Diana feeding ecology using five years of data on three groups testing a null hypothesis of no difference.
Diana monkeys associated with red colobus during 63% of observations. In association, fruit intake was higher (69.5% vs. 64%) while insect (26% vs. 29%) and leaf (4% vs. 6%) consumption decreased. We reject the null hypothesis and conclude that the Diana monkey diet improves with association.