Activity budget and social behavior of urban capuchin monkeys, Sapajus sp. (Primates: Cebidae)

ABSTRACT Constant changes in natural environments impose challenges to wild animal populations, especially those that depend on social life. We gathered data on the activity budget and social interactions of a capuchin monkey (Sapajus sp.) group of 17 individuals confined to an urban green area receiving human food supplementation. We observed the capuchins between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, three days a month, between January 2012 and June 2013 (total of 530 hours of direct observations). We collected 15,208 behavioral records through instantaneous scan sampling and 2,538 events of social interaction in an adapted version of the “all occurrences” method. Activity budget of capuchins was dominated by traveling (42%) and foraging (38%), followed by feeding (10%), social interactions (5%), resting (4%), and others (2%). Except for feeding, the time spent on other activities varied across sex-age classes. Social interactions of capuchins were dominated by affiliative interactions (80%), mainly social play, followed by agonistic (11%) and cooperative (10%) interactions. Sexual interactions were rare (0.4%) and often involved juveniles (45% of the events). Juveniles performed most of the social interactions, followed by the alpha male, and were the main receptors of grooming, food sharing, and agonism. On the other hand, they were the main group involved in allocarrying of infants. Grooming between females and from them to alpha male was infrequent. However, grooming of the alpha male towards the adult females was frequent. We interpreted the deviations in the activity budget and social interactions of the urban capuchins as effects of human food supplementation and restriction on dispersal, illustrating the behavioral ability of capuchin monkeys to adjust their activity in human-altered environments.