We examined variation in the group structure of black howlers (Alouatta pigra) using the adult composition of 48 social groups. We compared the structure of groups at 5 sites with different population densities and variation in group structure over time with rising population density. In addition, we examined changes in the group structure of monkeys that were translocated from an area of high population density to an area with a much lower population density. We found at low population densities, groups comprised either heterosexual pairs or a single male with two females. At high population densities groups tended to be multimale and often contained >2 adult females. We suggest the relative costs and benefits of dispersal by maturing adults varies with population density, and in Alouatta pigra results in a shift from single to multimale groups of larger size with increasing population density.
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