Zoology: Western gorillas may be territorial

March 12, 2020

Groups of western gorillas may defend the centres of their home ranges against neighbouring groups, a study in Scientific Reports suggests. These findings may suggest that western gorillas are territorial.

Gorillas are widely assumed to be non-territorial due to their large home ranges (the areas in which they live and move), extensive overlap between the home ranges of different groups, and limited aggression between groups.

Robin Morrison and colleagues used large-scale camera trapping to monitor eight groups of western gorillas (113 individuals in total) across a 60 km2 area in the Republic of Congo. The authors determined the home ranges of each group and found that, although there is some overlap in the home ranges of different groups, gorillas tended to avoid feeding in areas that had been visited by another group that day. Avoidance was more likely the closer the area was to the central region of another group's home range.

The authors suggest that gorillas may avoid the centres of other groups' home ranges to prevent conflict as these regions may be defended by physical aggression or chest beating. They also suggest that larger groups may find it easier to defend central regions than smaller groups.

The findings contribute to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the social structures of gorillas are more complex than previously thought, as interactions between groups are influenced by social and familial relationships and territoriality.
Article and author details

Western gorilla space use suggests territoriality

Corresponding authors:

Robin Morrison
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Email: robinemilymorrison@gmail.com

Jacob Dunn
Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom
Email: Jacob.Dunn@anglia.ac.uk



Online paper*


* Please link to the article in online versions of your report (the URL will go live after the embargo ends)

Scientific Reports

Related Gorillas Articles from Brightsurf:

Violent encounters between gorillas slow population growth rate
A new study by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and UC Davis used five decades of data to show how social behavior explains fluctuations in the growth rate of a subpopulation of mountain gorillas.

Mountain gorillas are good neighbours - up to a point
Mountain gorilla groups are friendly to familiar neighbours - provided they stay out of ''core'' parts of their territory - new research shows.

Molecular mechanism of cross-species transmission of primate lentiviruses
A research group at The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo (IMSUT) showed that gorilla APOBEC3G potentially plays a role in inhibiting SIVcpz replication.

Gorilla relationships limited in large groups
Mountain gorillas that live in oversized groups may have to limit the number of strong social relationships they form, new research suggests.

The genome of chimpanzees and gorillas could help to better understand human tumors
A new study by researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), a joint center of UPF and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), shows that, surprisingly, the distribution of mutations in human tumors is more similar to that of chimpanzees and gorillas than that of humans.

Zoology: Western gorillas may be territorial
Groups of western gorillas may defend the centres of their home ranges against neighbouring groups, a study in Scientific Reports suggests.

Study finds gorillas display territorial behavior
Scientists have discovered that gorillas really are territorial -- and their behavior is very similar to our own.

Tourists pose continued risks for disease transmission to endangered mountain gorillas
Researchers at Ohio University have published a new study in collaboration with Ugandan scientists, cautioning that humans place endangered mountain gorillas at risk of disease transmission during tourism encounters.

Differences in human and non-human primate saliva may be caused by diet
Humans are known to be genetically similar to our primate relatives.

Resurrection of 50,000-year-old gene reveals how malaria jumped from gorillas to humans
For the first time, scientists have uncovered the likely series of events that led to the world's deadliest malaria parasite being able to jump from gorillas to humans.

Read More: Gorillas News and Gorillas Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.