Abstract # 169:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 23 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


K. Ellis
University of Texas at Austin, Department of Anthropology, Austin 78705, USA
     Folivores do not exhibit a direct relationship between group size and day range and are consequently believed to experience little feeding competition. However, previous studies lacked sufficient control for ecological variation and made comparisons between groups during different time periods or from different habitats. Using 45 studies from the same time period and same habitat, the present analysis examined the relative ranging cost of 34 primate species, including 17 folivores. Other ecological correlates such as group spread and percent of immature leaves were also investigated as both have been found to be indicative of feeding competition in folivorous primates. Regression analyses revealed that relative ranging costs remained a poor predictor of group size in folivores (r2 = 0.511, n =27, p < 0.184), whereas both group spread (r2 = 0.710, n = 22, p < 0.001) and percent of time spent feeding on immature leaves (r2 = 0.601, n = 16, p < 0.001) were significant predictors. These results highlight the need for researchers to move beyond the use of single parameters like day range to predict feeding competition in folivores and to look for alternative correlates in group spread, diet, activity budgets, and/or the presence of group fissioning. The information gained from such research may improve our current interpretations of the ‘folivore paradox’ and redefine the competitive regime of leaf eating primates.