This week in the CRESIDA seminar series, our speaker is Susan Wiper, who is currently completing her PhD at Chester University. Her talk is on golden monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti) male behaviour, and the abstract is below. Come and join us on Thursday at 4.15pm in Room G070 at Parkstead House to learn more.
The golden monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti) is an endangered guenon that is endemic to the Volcanoes of the Virunga Massif and Rwanda’s Gishwati-Mukura-National Park. Most forest guenons live in polygynous groups where young adult males disperse on reaching sexual maturity and females stay within their natal group for life. During the mating season, the resident adult male guenon regularly faces reproductive competition from influx males, both solitary males (unattached to any group) and from males residing in adjacent groups. However, very little is known about the golden monkey and its behaviour due to the large groups in which it resides and the associated difficulty of identification of individuals.
In the first behavioural study of golden monkeys, a group of more than 100 monkeys were observed 5 days a week over a 12 month period. Individual identification was begun, starting with adult males, and this enabled focal sampling and an investigation of the spatial distribution and interactions between resident males within the group, focusing on differences within and outside the breeding season. Vocal communication has been another focus of the study, and the aim was to explore golden monkey vocalisations and compare the calls and the context they are used in with those of the closely related blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni). In addition to the above, a collaboration with researchers at Michigan State University allowed us to work on the development of an android phone application for quick field recognition of individuals, and the methods and difficulties of this will also be discussed.