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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Professor Russell Hill

LaBarge, L.R., Allan, A.T.L., Berman, C.M., Margulis, S.W. & Hill, R.A. (2020). Reactive and pre-emptive spatial cohesion in a social primate. Animal Behaviour 163: 115-126.

Author(s) from Durham


Spatial cohesion in group-living animals is assumed as a risk-sensitive characteristic. Few studies have
explicitly investigated this assumption or asked whether risk-related changes in spatial cohesion operate over
short or long-term scales. We explored whether two groups of wild samango monkeys (Cercopithecus
albogularis schwarzi) adjusted cohesion in reaction to naturally occurring risk from eagles and inter-group
encounters using the number of conspecific neighbours as our response. Data on these directly observed
encounters were used to assess reactive responses to immediate events. GPS-recorded locations of these
encounters allowed us to create relative risk landscapes to investigate whether these groups might pre-emptively
increase cohesion in high risk locations, in the absence of a direct threat. Multi-model inference was used to
compare support for candidate models representing biological hypotheses. We found support for changes in
cohesion in reaction to immediate inter-group conflict in both study groups. In contrast, only eagle risk
apparently elicited a pre-emptive response. These results suggest that spatial cohesion is risk-sensitive, but that
responses differ between types of risk and between groups.