Seasonality in the ecology and life histories of mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei)

Authors
Citation
Dp. Watts, Seasonality in the ecology and life histories of mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei), INT J PRIM, 19(6), 1998, pp. 929-948
Citations number
56
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences
Journal title
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRIMATOLOGY
ISSN journal
0164-0291 → ACNP
Volume
19
Issue
6
Year of publication
1998
Pages
929 - 948
Database
ISI
SICI code
0164-0291(199812)19:6<929:SITEAL>2.0.ZU;2-B
Abstract
The abundance of food, especially that of fruit and often that of young lea ves, varies considerably over time for most primates. This variation can de pend on or be independent of seasonality in rainfall. Mountain gorillas (Go rilla gorilla beringei) in the Virungas are exceptional: their habitat cont ains almost no edible fruit, and they mostly eat perennially available herb s and vines that are densely and evenly distributed in much of their habita t. Earlier studies documented little consistent temporal variation in mount ain gorilla diets and habitat use, except for seasonal use of bamboo by som e groups, and documented no birth seasonality. Long-term data (less than or equal to 7 years) on 6 mountain gorilla groups confirm these results for h abitat use, except that they show some seasonality in use of the upper alti tudinal extremes of the gorillas' home ranges for unclear reasons. Relative ly low and inconsistent variation in habitat duality over time should lower the costs of grouping for gorillas compared to other apes. Long-term data also confirm the absence of seasonality in births and conceptions. However, they show that mortality rates and risk of respiratory infections vary dir ectly with rainfall. These relationships are probably causal and may be med iated through thermoregulatory stress.