Drivers of Home Range Characteristics across Spatiotemporal Scales in a Neotropical Primate, Cebus capucinus


The factors that drive within-species variation in animal space use remain poorly understood. A growing body of evidence suggests that both home range attributes and biological interpretations of the home range may depend fundamentally on the scale of analysis. We utilize a multiscale mixed effects modelling framework to examine how seasonal fluctuations in climate, food resource abundance and group mass affect variance in home range area and the maturity stage of forest used by a group-living Neotropical primate, the white-faced capuchin, Cebus capucinus. Using an 8-year data set representing over 20,000 contact hours, we estimated home ranges for seven social groups at four nested temporal scales and three nested spatial scales using a movement-based kernel method. Group mass was consistently the most important predictor of home range size in our models, and its effects were relatively insensitive to spatial or temporal scale. Mean daily maximum temperature was an influential factor in shaping monthly range area and composition, with hotter weather favouring smaller home range size and increased use of mature evergreen forest. Greater fruit availability was also associated with smaller monthly range area. The effects of temperature and fruit availability were both scale dependent: the impact of both variables was greatest on the core zone. The different study groups showed marked variation in the habitat composition of their home ranges, but in all groups, higher-use zones consisted of older, more evergreen forest. Our study illustrates the complex ecological processes that affect movement behaviour in a Neotropical primate across a range of spatial and temporal scales, highlighting the importance of group mass, climatic seasonality, landscape heterogeneity and dietary shifts in shaping the home range.

Animal Behaviour