Quality and overlap of individual core areas are related to group tenure in female spider monkeys

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Asensio, N ; Schaffner, CM ; Aureli, F

In species with a high degree of fission-fusion dynamics group members may differ in the use of the group home range to reduce food competition. Such differential use may result in distinct individual core areas. We studied core area quality and overlap among 21 female spider monkeys belonging to the same group over a period of 4 years. Core areas ranged between 62 and 161ha with a mean overlap of 56% between any given two females. Only a small portion (mean=3ha) of each individual core area was used exclusively. No single part of the home range was used as core area by all females, and only an area of less than 1ha was used as part of the core area by 20 of the 21 females. The time a female spent in the group (i.e., group tenure) was associated with characteristics of the core areas: the longer the group tenure, the better the quality of her core area. In addition, the longer the time two females spent together in the same group, the larger the overlap between their individual core areas. As this result was obtained while controlling for the time two females spent together in the same subgroup, females may reduce direct competition by using the same resource at different times. In sum, spider monkey females' group tenure plays a central role in the quality and overlapping patterns of their individual core areas.
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