Comparing capuchins and coatis: causes and consequences of differing movement ecology in two sympatric mammals

Hirsch, Ben T., Tujague, Maria P., Di Blanco, Yamil E., Di Bitetti, Mario S., and Janson, Charles H. (2013) Comparing capuchins and coatis: causes and consequences of differing movement ecology in two sympatric mammals. Animal Behaviour, 86 (2). pp. 331-338.

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Abstract

The mechanisms that shape animal movement decisions at the level of an individual or a group of animals can scale up to affect larger-scale ecological processes. Ecologists often use mechanistic animal movement models to understand these links, but animal movement models rarely connect empirically with an understanding of how animals actually decide to move around in their environment. To better understand this relationship, we compared the travel behaviour of two sympatric mammal species that have broadly similar diets: brown capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella nigritus, and ring-tailed coatis, Nasua nasua. According to most mechanistic animal movement models, species that exploit the same resources should show similar movement patterns. Although the fruit component of coati and capuchin diets is very similar, coatis primarily feed on invertebrates in the leaf litter or soil, while capuchins forage on invertebrate prey in the forest canopy. We found that these two species showed markedly different movement patterns: while capuchins typically travelled between fruit trees in relatively straight lines, coatis had significantly more tortuous daily travel paths and frequently visited the same fruit trees more than once per day. These circular coati travel paths would not be predicted by most foraging models. We posit that these differences in coati and capuchin movement patterns are driven by differences in arboreal and terrestrial travel costs, exploitation of fallen fruits and shifts in foraging behaviour over the course of the day. Because these seemingly small differences between the two species lead to major differences in movement behaviour, we posit that animal movement models need to better incorporate (1) travel costs, (2) both directed travel and random food search and (3) realistic diet models that include resources with different nutrient compositions.

Item ID: 44224
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: animal movement; capuchin; Cebus apella nigritus; coati; foraging; Nasua nasua; straightness index; trapline; travel behaviour; travel cost
ISSN: 1095-8282
Funders: National Science Fund (NSF), Argentine Research Council (CONICET), Idea Wild, American Society of Mammalogists, Fullbright
Projects and Grants: NSF BCS-0314525 and BNS- 9009023
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2016 04:03
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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