Les Associations polyspécifiques chez les Cercopithecidae du Gabon

Abstract : In North East Gabon, certain species of Cercopithecidoe are more often found in mixed troops than in monospecific bands. We have studied these interspecific associations in four diff erent regions: two tropical rain forest regions (of which one was periodically flooded) subject to low hunting pressures, and two degraded forests bordering native villages where intensive hunting took place. The results were analyzed statistically according to Fager's method (1957) which tests interspecific affinities. Cercopithecus cephus appears to be the species most often involved in associations (86.6 % of observed cases). In rain-forests, it associates mostly with C. nictitans, while in a degraded environment, it joins Miopithecus talapoin. This association tendency is also found in Cercocebus albigena, Cercopithecus nictitans and C. mona. Talapoins are found as often associated as alone. In our study area, C. neglectus was never observed in a mixed group. Different types of associations exist, ranging from a parallel existence of two (up to five) separate troops to a complete intermingling. In non-hunted zones, these associations are stable from one day to the next as well as over the years. Daily fluctuations occur however, most polyspecific troops being observed in the morning and evening. At nightfall monospecific bands tend to join and mingle with other species for the night. In degraded zones, the associations with the Talapoin scem to be a result of its "hunt-free" status. Native hunters do not hunt this monkey and therefore, any other "game" species associating with it benefit by its presence. Intraspecific agonistic behaviour appears to be absent even though the polyspecific groups share the same food habits (direct observation and stomach content analysis). It is this absence of competition, linked no doubt with the local abundance of available food, which probably makes these associations possible. An increase in troop size means a decrease in predator approaches going unnoticed and, consequently, the monkeys benefit from these associations. But this safety-in-numbers hypothesis may not explain satisfactorily the intraspecific association preferences which have been observed.
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Jean-Pierre Gautier, Annie Gautier-Hion. Les Associations polyspécifiques chez les Cercopithecidae du Gabon. Revue d'Ecologie, Terre et Vie, Société nationale de protection de la nature, 1969, 164 (2), pp.164-201. ⟨hal-01358965⟩

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