, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 339-356

Patterns of dominance and affiliation in wild pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina nemestrina) in West Sumatra

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Abstract

Patterns of agonistic and nonagonistic behaviors were studied in a troop of wild pig-tailed macaques in West Sumatra, Indonesia. The animals were provisioned and the identities of all adult and adolescent individuals were known. The females could be divided into high-, mid-, and low-ranking subsets of individuals. Most grooming occurred within, instead of between members of these subsets. The members of each subset also tended to feed together at the baiting sites, and they probably represented groups of close kin. Among females, grooming appeared to be a conciliatory behavior and was generally performed by the subordinate partner, while mounting was performed by the dominant partner and appeared to be a reassertion of dominance. High-ranking males tended to form agonistic alliances with females and to exchange grooming with estrous females. Low-ranking males did not have such associations with females and were frequently the targets of agonistic alliances of females and juveniles. Mounting between males appeared to be a conciliatory behavior. It seemed effective since severe aggression between males was not observed. The subordinate partner mounted more frequently than the dominant one, but the direction of mounting was apparently controlled by the latter. This suggests that, among pig-tailed macaques, the dominant male plays an important role in the coexistence of males in the troop.