, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 257-290

First online:

An ethological analysis of types of agonistic interaction in a captive group of Java-monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)

  • Frans B. M. de WaalAffiliated withLaboratory of Comparative Physiology, University of Utrecht
  • , Jan A. R. A. M. van HooffAffiliated withLaboratory of Comparative Physiology, University of Utrecht
  • , Willem J. NettoAffiliated withLaboratory of Comparative Physiology, University of Utrecht

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The primate literature provides many indications not only that the nature of dyadic interactions is to a large extent determined by the relations of the interacting animals with others and between these others, but also of the existence of polyadic interactions in which more than two individuals are simultaneously involved.

The objectives of the present study are to obtain a quantitative categorization of the agonistic interaction types of captive Java-monkeys and an analysis of their dynamics.

After having described the agonistic behaviour patterns of Java-monkeys we shall discuss the categorization of agonistic interaction types (depending on the number of involvees: “dyads”, “triads” and “polyads”), the way in which these types can be further differentiated on the basis of the nature and the direction of the behaviours shown (e.g., different types of alliances), and the existence of so-called “sub-directed” behaviours (i.e., non-agonistic behaviours which are shown towards a dominant third animal more or less simultaneously with aggressive behaviour directed towards an opponent).

The analysis indicates that agonistic behaviour is different both in its form and its regulation in interactions of different complexity.