Cultural differences in army ant predation by West African chimpanzees? A comparative study of microecological variables

Mobius, Yasmin and Boesch, Christophe and Koops, Kathelijne and Matsuzawa, Tetsuro and Humle, Tatyana (2008) Cultural differences in army ant predation by West African chimpanzees? A comparative study of microecological variables. Animal Behaviour, 76 (1). pp. 37-45. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Behavioural diversity in the predation pattern of army ants (Dorylus spp.) by different populations of wild chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, has been proposed to reflect different cultural traditions. Chimpanzees use either stick tools (known as ant dipping) or simply their hands to prey on two groups of army ants (epigaeic and intermediate species). A recent analysis has shown that, contrary to the cultural hypothesis, the tool length and associated harvesting technique used by chimpanzees in different populations is to a large extent influenced by characteristics of the ants themselves. However, in line with the cultural hypothesis, chimpanzees at two long-term study sites in West Africa (Bossou, Guinea, and Ta€ı National Park, Coˆte d’Ivoire) prey on the same five army ant species but adopt different strategies to do so. We conducted controlled human simulations of ant dipping and an ant survey at these two sites to evaluate alternative ecological explanations related to ant behaviour and ecology that could account for the observed differences in chimpanzee predation behaviour. Ant speed explained differences in tool length within Bossou but not between Bossou and Ta€ı. Our results do not support an ecological basis underlying the lack of dipping at ant trails in Ta€ı chimpanzees. Finally, neither ant aggressiveness (measured as speed and persistence) nor yield when using tools could explain why, unlike Bossou chimpanzees, Ta€ı chimpanzees do not use tools to harvest epigaeic species.We conclude that an interaction of cultural and ecological factors shapes the differences in army ant predation between Ta€ı and Bossou chimpanzees.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: ant dipping; army ants; chimpanzee; culture; Dorylus spp.; insectivory; Pan troglodytes verus; tool use
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Shelley Malekia
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2012 09:01
Last Modified: 23 May 2014 10:16
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