Abstract # 101:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 12 (Ball Rooms A and B) Poster Presentation


Is it worth the risk? Novel food presentation affects behavior in captive owl monkeys (Aotus spp.)

R. M. Hores1,2, C. K. Wolovich1,3 and S. Evans1
1DuMond Conservancy for Primates and Tropical Forests, Inc., Miami, FL 33170, USA, 2Southern Illinois University, 3Bucknell University
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     Foraging risks can include becoming more conspicuous to predators, trying novel foods, and reaching into enclosed spaces. Owl monkeys (Aotus spp.) are nocturnal arboreal primates that are marked by high levels of cooperative behavior. To examine the effects of feeding in potentially ‘risky’ situations such as feeding near the ground and reaching into an enclosed space, we examined the behavioral responses to various forms of food presentation (control [normal location], ground treatment, and novel opaque container) that were presented in a randomized order in nine social groups of captive Aotus from February-July 2007. We observed the adult male and female of each group and scored the latency to approach the food, the latency to begin eating food, and all social interactions involving food. There were no significant sex differences in response to the novel feeding conditions [Wilcoxon Signed Ranks tests, a=0.05]. Males and females, however, had both significantly longer latencies to approach and latencies to begin eating during the opaque container treatment than during the control. When food was presented near the ground, females seemed particularly reluctant to begin eating. Food-related social interactions with mates and young were most frequent when food was presented near the ground. Because owl monkeys typically do not go to the ground to forage, they may choose to obtain food from others rather than put themselves in a potentially ‘risky’ situation.