, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 261-278

Male competition and coalitions in langurs (Presbytis entellus) at Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

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Abstract

During a 15 month study on free ranging langurs (Presbytis entellus) at Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, 5 adult male replacements were observed as a result of nontroop male invasions into the home ranges of 3 neighbouring one-male troops comprising 16–28 members each. Jodhpur langurs have no breeding season. Periods of instability during resident male changes lasted 11–119 days. Linear dominance hierarchies could be detected within the 3 main rival male bands of 2, 5, and 28–35 members. The respective alphas drove their allies away after their bands succeeded cooperatively at occupying a troop. During gradual replacements interim residencies alternated with multi-male stages. A large band's alpha may have had better chances to win the competition, since adult and nonadult allies functioned as “buffers” in agonistic encounters. The role of kin selection in structuring the composition of male bands and male coalitional behaviour cannot yet be quantified. Tactical “deceit” of powerful males to cause unrealistic expectations and in this way agonistic engagement of less strong males can be ruled out. “Sneaking copulations” is a proximate advantage for subordinate supporters, since they participated in 61.9% of all sexual interactions. Female promiscuity might reflect a strategy to induce male-male competition and thus select for a strong resident.