The effect of climatic factors on the activity budgets of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)

Majolo, Bonaventura, Mcfarland, Richard, Young, Christopher and Qarro, Mohammed (2013) The effect of climatic factors on the activity budgets of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). International Journal of Primatology, 34 (3). pp. 500-514. ISSN 0164-0291

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Item Type:Article
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Climatic conditions can significantly affect the behavior of animals and
constrain their activity or geographic distribution. Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)
are one of the few primates that live outside the tropics. Here we analyze if and how the
activity budgets of Barbary macaques are affected by climatic variables, i.e., air temperature,
relative humidity, rainfall, and snow coverage. We collected scan sampling
data on the activity budgets of four groups of macaques living in the Middle Atlas
Mountains ofMorocco from June 2008 to January 2011. This habitat is characterized by
extreme seasonal changes, from cold and snowy winters to hot and dry summers. The
activity budgets of the macaques differed across months but not across the time of day
(with the exception of time spent feeding). The monkeys spent significantly more time
feeding or foraging when there was no snow than when snow coverage was moderate or
major. Daily rainfall was positively related to resting time and negatively to time spent
moving or in social behavior. Air temperature was negatively related to time spent
feeding or foraging. Finally, time spent on social behavior was significantly lower when
relative humidity was high. These data indicate that environmental factors significantly
affect the time budgets of endangered Barbary macaques, a species that has been little
studied in the wild. Our findings support previous studies on temperate primates in
showing that snow coverage can have negative consequences on the feeding ecology
and survival of these species.

Keywords:Animal behaviour, Climate, Feeding, Morocco, Resting, thermoregulation, Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:10651
Deposited On:03 Jul 2013 15:12

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