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Behavioural responses to spatial variation in perceived predation risk and resource availability in an arboreal primate

Parker, E, Hill, R and Koyama, NF Behavioural responses to spatial variation in perceived predation risk and resource availability in an arboreal primate. Ecosphere. ISSN 2150-8925 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Prey species must often face a trade-off between acquiring resources and minimising predation risk. The spatial variation in predation risk across a landscape, as perceived by prey across their foraging or home range, creates a ‘landscape of fear’ by which individuals modify their behaviour in response to the level of perceived risk. Here, we explored the influence of perceived predation risk, habitat features associated with risk, and fruit availability, on the spatial variation in behaviour of the endangered forest-dwelling samango monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis schwarzi). We collected behavioural and location data on two habituated samango monkey groups in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa between 2012 and 2016. We further collected location data of the samango monkey’s acoustically distinct alarm call, which has an unambiguous association with aerial predators, to spatially map perceived risk across the landscape. Using generalised linear mixed models, we found that perceived risk from eagles significantly influenced the spatial distribution of critical life-functioning behaviours, with samango monkeys increasing feeding and foraging in high-risk areas. To mitigate this risk samangos increased cohesion between group members, which subsequently reduced vigilance levels. Group cohesion further increased in high-risk areas with abundant fruit, relative to high-risk, fruit-poor areas, demonstrating the monkey’s foraging/risk trade-off. Feeding was also reduced in areas of low canopy height, whilst vigilance decreased with increasing understory visibility and distance from sleep site, showing the influence of landscape features on risk perception from other predator guilds. Thus, for arboreal species foraging in a 3-D landscape, risk perception may occur at multiple scales and in response to multiple predator guilds. Only moving was influenced by fruit availability, either due to moving between localised food patches or from escaping high-risk areas following feeding bouts. These findings highlight that risk-taking in samango monkeys is only associated with behaviours fundamental to survival and that increased cohesion between neighbours is the main antipredator response in this species.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0501 Ecological Applications, 0602 Ecology, 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Ecological Society of America
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2021 07:01
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 08:00
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15643

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