Association patterns in a high-elevation chimpanzee community in Rwanda

Cyril R. C. Grueter, Amanda R. R. Ridley, Beth A. A. Kaplin, Jaya K. K. Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investment in social interaction and affiliative behaviour is often related to variation in sex-specific dispersal patterns among species but can also vary within species in response to local environmental conditions and feeding competition. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) association patterns have been studied primarily in low and mid-elevation tropical forests. This study adds to our understanding of association patterns in chimpanzees by presenting the first data on association patterns in a high-elevation population at Nyungwe in equatorial Rwanda. Using data on co-occurrence in social parties (party association) and calculating gregariousness indices, we quantified levels of associations among age-sex classes relative to food (fruit) distribution and the presence of oestrous females. Overall, adult females in Nyungwe are less gregarious than males. Female but not male gregariousness increased when feeding on clumped foods, indicating that resource characteristics impact female association tendencies more intensely than males. Despite high elevation forests representing a habitat with relatively fewer fruit resources for chimpanzees, at an edge of range location, we found that gregariousness patterns were driven by similar factors as those in mid and low elevation chimpanzee populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-685
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Early online date20 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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