How does the effect of food differ between males and females? In primates, female sociality is generally considered to be more strongly influenced by food than male sociality. 1 Moreover, the abundance of food and the density of predators determines female group size, 2 and the number of females in the group in turn affects the number of resident males in the group.
The sociality of males is also related to social factors such as infanticide, which we will discuss in the next chapter.
1The difference in the effect of food between the sexes is due to the different costs of child rearing between females and males. Primates have longer gestation and lactation periods compared to other mammals. So females in particular are subject to a high energy cost for child rearing, and prefer home ranges with abundant food resources. In contrast, primate males generally contribute less to child rearing than females, and so the availability of reproductive females is more important to them than food abundance.
2When the risk of predation is high, natural selection favors a larger group size. An increased group size leads to more intensive competition for food among the group members, which in turn decreases the group size.
Related iCards: Plundering the birds’ pantry (Vol 1.) ／ Diurnal life changed monkeys (Vol 1.) ／ Leaf eaters and fruit eaters: differences in home range (Vol 1.)
Section 2: Food Distribution and Sociality
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