The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

Anti-predatory strategies produce distinct landscapes of fear mediated by social and environmental factors in red-tailed monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius)


1Department of Biology, Swarthmore College, 2Issa Valley Research Station, Greater Mahale Ecosystem Research and Conservation, 3School of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University

April 18, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

Recent evidence in a variety of prey species indicates that a group’s spatial strategy to avoid predation and maximize resources can be modeled by a landscape of fear (LOF). Recently, LOF studies have begun to gain attention in primate species, whose social structure and anti-predatory strategies differ from the more studied ungulates. Additionally, LOF models are often generated from the measurement of a single anti-predatory strategy in primate species. This study takes a more complex approach to the study of LOF and habitat use by measuring multiple anti-predatory strategies as well as social and environmental factors in a group living primate. Here we tested a LOF hypothesis that anti-predatory strategies minimize predation risk and energetic cost while maximizing resources in red-tailed monkeys (Cerocopithecus ascanius). We modeled predation risk as a function of three behaviors, aggregation, alarm-calling, and anti-predatory vigilance, and explored how these strategies are deployed in relation to social (e.g., group size) and environmental factors (e.g., habitat type). We found that the anti-predatory behaviors are differentially predicted by the habitat, demographic factors, and the other anti-predatory behaviors used within the group. Additionally, the larger group performed relatively more anti-predatory behaviors. The LOFs that were generated map the variance of each strategy within the habitat and between the groups, recognizing the importance of multiple metrics for predation risk. This work reveals that the predation risk of a prey primate species is mediated by numerous and variable behavioral strategies that are further influenced by environmental and social factors.

This work was supported by the Giles K. ’72 and Barbara Guss Kemp Student Fellowship from Swarthmore College.

Slides/Poster (pdf)