Primate Dispersal

  • Dispersal refers to when an individual migrates out of its natal group. This is the opposite of philopatry, which refers to when an individual remains in their natal group. (Greenwood, 1980; Pusey, 1987).
  • Antafia-sportive-lemur-in-day-time-tree-hole.jpg
  • Dispersal, within mammals, is often male biased and philopatry within mammals are most often female biased (Greenwood, 1980; Pusey, 1987; Lawson Handley & Perrin, 2007).
  • Red-handed-howler-monkey-vocalising.jpg
  • Sex biased dispersal and philopatry leads to close kin relationships between the sex that remains within their natal group while those that disperse tend to have no kin relations thus making them less likely to have close relationships.
  • Banded-langur-in-forest-canopy.jpg
  • Chimps have male biased philopatry, thus males share very tight bonds. Females disperse within chimps and thus do not have as tight bonds.
  • Eastern-chimpanzee-subordinate-pant-in-response-to-dominant-grunt.jpg
  • Baboons mostly exhibit female philopatry creating tight bonds between females.
  • These bonds lead to greater preferential associations, coalitions, increased grooming or playing, close proximity in feeding and foraging.
  • Some primates have both sexes disperse such as gorillas
  • Female-mountain-gorilla.jpg


Greenwood P. 1980. Mating systems, philopatry and dispersal in birds and mammals. Animal Behaviour 1140–1162.


Lawson Handley LJ, Perrin N. 2007. Advances in our understanding of mammalian sex-biased dispersal. Molecular Ecology 16:1559–1578.


Pusey A. 1987. Sex-biased dispersal and inbreeding avoidance in birds and mammals. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 2:295–299.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s