, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 100-110

Kidnapping and female competition among captive bonnet macaques

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Rank, parity, and kinship influence the pattern and frequency of kidnapping interactions in a group of captive bonnet macaques,Macaca radiata. Kidnapping attempts are initiated by parous and nulliparous females toward the infants of lower ranking females. Contrary to the pattern documented in several other species, nulliparous females participate in kidnapping interactions at the same rate as lactating females. Kidnapping attempts are consistently resisted by mothers, and most attempts are unsuccessful. Both the rates and pattern of kidnapping interactions differ within and between lineages. The results suggest that kidnappers gain neither status nor maternal experience and that the mothers of kidnapped infants do not benefit at all. Kidnapping may represent a form of competition among females which is detrimental to both infants and their mothers.