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Flies are implicated in carrying and mechanically transmitting many primate pathogens. We investigated how fly associations vary across six monkey species (Cercopithecus ascanius, Cercopithecus mitis, Colobus guereza, Lophocebus albigena, Papio anubis, and Piliocolobus tephrosceles) and whether monkey group size impacts fly densities. Fly densities were generally higher inside groups than outside them, and considering data from these primate species together revealed that larger groups harbored more flies. Within species, this pattern was strongest for colobine monkeys, and we speculate this might be due to their smaller home ranges, suggesting that movement patterns may influence fly–primate associations. Fly associations increase with group sizes and may thus represent a cost to sociality.


This work was originally published in EcoHealth, available at

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