, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 57-68

First online:

Mating competition and intergroup transfer of males in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Emei, China

  • Qi-Kun ZhaoAffiliated withConservation Biology Center at Kunming Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica

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In five groups of seasonally provisioned Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Emei, males were sampled for wounds as an indicator of their competition for females during about 80 days in the 1987 mating season. Quantitative data on intergroup transfer were collected in a period between June 1986 and December 1987. The young adult (YA) males, the most active age-class in mating activity and intergroup transfer, received most of the wounds. Wounds tended to appear more in the front of body for YA and subadults (SA) than they did for middle-old aged (MO) males. This implies that some of the MO males were more active and aggressive in the fights. During the 1.5 year period, 5/6 of the YA and 5/17 of the MO males made intergroup shifts. Although YA males faced a high risk of receiving wounds at transfer, they usually rose in rank. On the other hand, the MO males transferred more smoothly but dropped in rank. The peripheral SA males, which rarely emigrated in the population, were an active component in determining the wounding rate, and the rate and direction of male migration. Three SA immigrants died of severe attacks made by resident males in 1988 and 1991. Adult sex ratios and their variations were considerably reduced with male nonrandom shifts and better conservation of the population.

Key Words

Macaca thibetana Competition for females Wounding Intergroup transfer Age-dependent performance