, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 369-374

Grooming site preferences in wild white-handed gibbons (Hylobates lar)

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Abstract

During a four-month study of wild white-handed gibbons in Thailand one group was observed for 131 hr. The individuals spent 5.2% of their activity period allogrooming. Several body sites received more respectively less allogrooming than expected. Surface areas easy to clean by autogrooming such as the belly received significantly less allogrooming than expected. Upper body areas which are likely to be infested by parasites and other matter received significantly more allogrooming than lower body parts. Thus, grooming in gibbons seems to reflect a primarily hygienic function.