Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie

Göttingen, Germany

Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie

Göttingen, Germany
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Lledo-Ferrer Y.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | Lledo-Ferrer Y.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Pelaez F.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2011

Researchers have often assumed that scent marking serves a territorial function in callitrichines, although some controversy exists. To fulfill such a function, scent marks should 1) prevent intrusions, 2) ensure access to feeding resources, 3) enable avoidance of intergroup encounters, or 4) play an important role in the aggressive encounters between groups. We studied 13 saddleback tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis) belonging to 3 free-ranging groups, which formed mixed-species troops with moustached tamarins (S. mystax) in the Amazonian rain forest of Peru. None of the predictions were confirmed. The tamarins used a border-marking strategy, marking more on the periphery of their territory. However, feeding trees in overlap and encounter areas received more scent marking but were still visited by neighboring groups. Intergroup encounters occurred more often than expected, and scent-marking frequency was not higher during them than when no other group was present. It appears that instead of defending a territory in the classic sense, the tamarins are optimizing signal transmission by depositing their scents where the probability of detection by neighbors is higher. Saddleback tamarins may use shared areas of their home ranges to exchange information with neighboring groups, perhaps regarding reproductive opportunities. © 2011 The Author(s).

Culot L.,University of Liège | Lledo-Ferrer Y.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | Lledo-Ferrer Y.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Hoelscher O.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | And 3 more authors.
Primates | Year: 2011

Maternal infanticide in wild non-human primates has only been reported twice. In this paper, we report a possible new case of infanticide and cannibalism within a series of four successive reproductive failures in wild moustached tamarins, Saguinus mystax. Necropsy and genetic analyses of the corpses enabled us to rule out any pathology, and to determine paternity. The mother was seen biting and then eating the head of its own infant during a period when another female was pregnant and gave birth just 1 month later. Before that, the perpetrator had given birth to twins three times successfully when four to five adult and subadult males were present in the group. Although we do not know for certain that the infant was alive when the mother started biting it, our field observations preceding the event suggest it probably was. The possible infanticide case and the two cases of births and early death of the infants occurred while only two to three adult males were present in the group. This could be the second case of maternal infanticide reported in the genus Saguinus and the similar circumstances suggest a common pattern. We discuss these events in the light of the different functional explanations of infanticide and conclude that parental manipulation was the most likely: the mother could have terminated the investment in offspring that had low chances of survival in a group with low availability of helpers. © 2011 Japan Monkey Centre and Springer.

Lledo-Ferrer Y.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | Lledo-Ferrer Y.,University of Lisbon | Pelaez F.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2012

Our recent paper Lledo-Ferrer et al. (International Journal of Primatology 32: 974-991, 2011) questioned the classic view of territoriality and chemical communication in wild callitrichids, saddleback tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis). We suggested that rather than defending a territory or resources, chemical communication was more likely to be a way of exchanging reproductive information between groups. Roberts (International Journal of Primatology 33, 2012). challenged this interpretation, considering that the results could more parsimoniously be interpreted as fulfilling a resource defense strategy. This response is intended to clarify some aspects of the debate and to suggest how further research could shed new light on the present polemics. © 2012 The Author(s).

Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | Luttmann K.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | Michalczyk I.M.,University of Marburg | Saboya P.P.P.,University of the Amazon | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Determining the distances over which seeds are dispersed is a crucial component for examining spatial patterns of seed dispersal and their consequences for plant reproductive success and population structure. However, following the fate of individual seeds after removal from the source tree till deposition at a distant place is generally extremely difficult. Here we provide a comparison of observationally and genetically determined seed dispersal distances and dispersal curves in a Neotropical animal-plant system. Methodology/Principal Findings: In a field study on the dispersal of seeds of three Parkia (Fabaceae) species by two Neotropical primate species, Saguinus fuscicollis and Saguinus mystax, in Peruvian Amazonia, we observationally determined dispersal distances. These dispersal distances were then validated through DNA fingerprinting, by matching DNA from the maternally derived seed coat to DNA from potential source trees. We found that dispersal distances are strongly right-skewed, and that distributions obtained through observational and genetic methods and fitted distributions do not differ significantly from each other. Conclusions/Significance: Our study showed that seed dispersal distances can be reliably estimated through observational methods when a strict criterion for inclusion of seeds is observed. Furthermore, dispersal distances produced by the two primate species indicated that these primates fulfil one of the criteria for efficient seed dispersers. Finally, our study demonstrated that DNA extraction methods so far employed for temperate plant species can be successfully used for hard-seeded tropical plants. © 2012 Heymann et al.

Aquino R.,National Major San Marcos University | Cornejo F.M.,National Major San Marcos University | Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie
Primates | Year: 2013

We report information on population density, group size, and habitat preferences of primates along the lower Río Urubamba and in the Río Urubamba-Río Tambo interfluvium, in central-eastern Peruvian Amazonia, an area that has been little explored with regard to its primate fauna. During 425 km of transect walks in October-November 2008 and April-May 2009 totally 174 groups of nine primate species were encountered, the most common being Callicebus brunneus (45 groups), Saguinus imperator (41 groups), and Aotus nigriceps (26 groups). Group sizes were smallest for A. nigriceps and C. brunneus (mean of 2.8 and 2.9, respectively) and largest for Saimiri boliviensis (mean 15.6). Population densities were lowest for Lagothrix cana (3.3 individuals/km2) and highest for A. nigriceps (31.1 individuals/km2). Groups of C. brunneus, S. imperator, S. boliviensis, Cebus albifrons, and Cebus apella were most frequently (83 % of sightings) encountered in semi-dense or in open primary forest that included stands of bamboo (Guadua sarcocarpa) or where bamboo was a very common species. © 2013 The Author(s).

Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | Aquino R.,National Major San Marcos University
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2010

In the literature, particularly in primatological books, the Peruvian red uakari (Cacajao calvus ucayalii) is generally considered as a species that is specialized on living in flooded forest, despite existing evidence to the contrary. Here we review all available information on habitats where Cacajao calvus ucayalii have been observed. Most sightings are from terra firme, including palm swamps, or from mixed habitats, including terra firme and flooded forest. Therefore, we conclude that the species is not a flooded-forest specialist, but is flexible in its habitat requirements and generally uses terra firme forests or a mixture of habitats. Proper recognition of habitat requirements is important for understanding the ecoethological adaptations of a species and for appropriate conservation measures. © 2010 The Author(s).

Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie
Ecotropica | Year: 2011

Due to their principally arboreal way of life, primates can potentially interact with flowers from a broad diversity of tropical and subtropical plants. In fact the consumption of flowers and/or nectar has been reported for many primate species, but the role in primate diets is generally underestimated. Also, evidence has been provided for the role of some primate species as pollinators. This paper aims at reviewing information on the interactions between primates and flowers and to examine factors like body mass and dietary strategy as determinants for the type of interaction, i.e. whether entire flowers or nectar are consumed. I also review the available evidence for pollination by primates and the consequences of flower predation for subsequent fruit set. I conclude that (a) the contribution of flowers and/or nectar to primate diets can be substantial, at least seasonally, and therefore (b) primate-flower interactions (flower predation, pollination) are more prevalent and may have larger impact on affected plants than previously thought.

Alvarez S.J.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie | Alvarez S.J.,University of Gottingen | Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2012

Callicebus and the pitheciins are closely related; however, differences in their diets and dental morphology suggest that they differ in the use of mechanically protected food. We describe physical traits of fruits consumed by white-handed titi monkeys (Callicebus lugens) and determine their influence on fruit part selection and immediate seed fate after fruit handling. We tested two hypotheses about the effects of mechanical fruit traits on fruit part selection and seed fate: (1) fruits selected for seed consumption are harder than fruits selected for their fleshy parts and (2) consumed seeds are softer than seeds with other fates. In addition, we analyzed the influence of other physical fruit traits on fruit part selection and seed fate. C. lugens included 69 species in its diet, from which it mainly consumed their fleshy parts. It also consumed seeds, alone or with fleshy fruit parts, but most of them ended up close to parent trees after being dropped or spat out. The first hypothesis was supported while the second was rejected, indicating that C. lugens tends to rely on hard fruits for obtaining seeds, while seed hardness had no influence on fruit part selection and seed fate, contrasting with the pattern reported for Pithecia and Chiropotes in other studies. Ripeness was the most influential factor for fruit part and seed fate discrimination. Results suggest a tendency to sclerocarpic foraging in C. lugens when feeding on seeds. Am J Phys Anthropol 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Culot L.,São Paulo State University | Culot L.,University of Liège | Huynen M.-C.,University of Liège | Heymann E.W.,Abteilung Verhaltensokologie and Soziobiologie
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2015

Summary: Seed dispersal effectiveness (SDE) is a conceptual framework that aims at quantifying the contribution of seed dispersal vectors to plant fitness. While it is well recognized that diplochorous dispersal systems, characterized by two successive dispersal steps performed by two different vectors (Phase I = primary seed dispersal and Phase II = secondary seed dispersal) which are common in temperate and tropical regions, little attention has been given to distinguishing the relative contribution of one-phase and two-phase dispersal to overall SDE. This conceptual gap probably results from the lack of a clear methodology to include Phase II dispersal into the calculation of SDE and to quantify its relative contribution. We propose a method to evaluate the relative contribution of one-phase and two-phase dispersal to SDE and determine whether two seed dispersers are better than one. To do so, we used the SDE landscape and an extension of the SDE landscape, the Phase II effect landscape, which measures the direction and magnitude of the Phase II dispersal effect on overall SDE. We used simulated and empirical data from a diplochorous dispersal system in the Peruvian Amazon to illustrate this new approach. Our approach provides the relative contribution of one-phase SDE (SDE1) and two-phase SDE (SDE2) to overall SDE and quantifies how much SDE changes with the addition of Phase II dispersal. Considering that the seed dispersal process is context dependent so that Phase II depends on Phase I, we predict the possible range of variation of SDE according to the variation of the probability of Phase II dispersal. In our specific study system composed of two primate species as primary dispersal vectors and different species of dung beetles as secondary dispersal vectors, the relative contribution of SDE1 and SDE2 to overall SDE varied between plant species. We discuss the context dependency of the Phase II dispersal and the potential applications of our approach. This extension to the conceptual framework of SDE enables quantitative evaluation of the effect of Phase II dispersal on plant fitness and can be easily adapted to other biotic and/or abiotic diplochorous dispersal systems. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

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