Abstract Title

Who Guards the Troop? Vigilance in Vervet Monkeys

Abstract

Vigilance within troops plays a key role in the survival of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) and the success of their offspring. We hypothesized that males would display more vigilant behavior than females and juveniles within troops, because troop males mate with many females and consequently achieve greater fitness by keeping the females safe so they can breed more often. Females, on the other hand, maximize their fitness by producing and caring for a single juvenile. Numerous troops of vervet monkeys were observed in multiple, moderately-forested areas within Wits Rural Facility near Acornhoek, South Africa. We categorized the monkeys based on their age and sex. Seven behaviors were recorded including vigilance, idleness, grooming, playing, sleeping, foraging, and roaming. Males displayed more vigilant behavior (50%), than females (27.8%) and juveniles (9.4 %). All data were found to be significant; males vs. females (p=0.004), males vs. juveniles (p < 0.001), females vs. juveniles (p < 0.001). These data support our hypothesis that male vervet monkeys display the most vigilant behavior within a troop, which suggests that males are the guardians of their troops.

Modified Abstract

Vigilance within troops plays a key role in the survival of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) and their fitness. We hypothesized that males would display more vigilant behavior than females and juveniles. We observed troops of vervet monkeys in different moderately-forested areas within Wits Rural Facility near Acornhoek, South Africa. The behaviors observed included vigilance, idleness, grooming, playing, sleeping, foraging, and roaming. Males were found to display more vigilant behavior (50%), than females (27.8%) and juveniles (9.4 %). All comparative data between males and females, males and juveniles, and females and juveniles, were significant. These data support our hypothesis that male vervet monkeys display the most vigilant behavior within a troop, suggesting that males are the guardians of their troop.

Research Category

Biology/Ecology

Primary Author's Major

Zoology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. David

Ward

Mentor #2 Information

Christian

Combs

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

April 2019

Research Area

Animal Sciences | Zoology

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM

Who Guards the Troop? Vigilance in Vervet Monkeys

Vigilance within troops plays a key role in the survival of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) and the success of their offspring. We hypothesized that males would display more vigilant behavior than females and juveniles within troops, because troop males mate with many females and consequently achieve greater fitness by keeping the females safe so they can breed more often. Females, on the other hand, maximize their fitness by producing and caring for a single juvenile. Numerous troops of vervet monkeys were observed in multiple, moderately-forested areas within Wits Rural Facility near Acornhoek, South Africa. We categorized the monkeys based on their age and sex. Seven behaviors were recorded including vigilance, idleness, grooming, playing, sleeping, foraging, and roaming. Males displayed more vigilant behavior (50%), than females (27.8%) and juveniles (9.4 %). All data were found to be significant; males vs. females (p=0.004), males vs. juveniles (p < 0.001), females vs. juveniles (p < 0.001). These data support our hypothesis that male vervet monkeys display the most vigilant behavior within a troop, which suggests that males are the guardians of their troops.