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Title:Juvenile Feeding Ecology and Life History in a Neotropical Primate, the Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri Sciureus)
Author(s):Stone, Anita
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Garber, Paul A.
Department / Program:Biology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Biology, Ecology
Abstract:Primates are characterized by slow growth and the longest juvenile period (time between weaning and reproduction) relative to body size of any mammalian order, yet the causes and consequences of extended juvenility remain unclear. Proposed explanations include factors directly related to juvenile foraging ecology, such as high starvation risks due to feeding competition with adults in the group or time needed to develop foraging skills. Other explanations argue that earlier maturation is negatively correlated with adult reproductive success, and that juvenile foraging primarily reflects predator avoidance as a consequence of having a long prereproductive period. This study examined the foraging ecology of the squirrel monkey, a small, neotropical primate with an unusually long juvenile phase. The feeding behaviors of wild juveniles and adults were examined under varying conditions of food abundance and predation risk, during 14 months in Eastern Amazonia, Brazil. Observational and experimental data collected showed minimal evidence of feeding competition between adults and juveniles or differences in adult juvenile foraging abilities. Instead, the most important factors influencing diet and resource use by juveniles were social interference among juveniles and predation risk. These results, as well as comparative data from other New World monkeys, do not support hypotheses that seek to explain the primate pattern of extended juvenility based on foraging pressures experienced by juveniles. Rather, alternative explanations related to male and female reproductive strategies in these primates are more directly linked to timing of maturation.
Issue Date:2004
Description:177 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3160957
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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