, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 231-257

Dominance, age, and reproductive success in free-ranging female hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus)

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Abstract

Correlations among female age, dominance, and reproduction were investigated for a 12-year period in free-ranging, provisioned Hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus), living in one-male groups near Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India. Of 2940 displacement episodes, 27% occurred over natural food, 26% over provisioned food, 8% over grooming, 23% over position and shade, and 16% for other reasons. It was possible to reconstruct a displacement hierarchy that was linear and stable over short periods but fluctuated according to the age composition of the troop, resulting in an age inversed dominance structure. Females occupied top ranks as soon as they experienced menarche (around 2.4 years of age) and gradually declined thereafter, with postmenopausal females (≥30 years) being the lowest ranking individuals. Old females tended to be peripheral, while young females were highly social and active. Fertility peaked at about 7 years and gradually decreased thereafter, but infant mortality was much higher in young females than in old ones. During years when females gave birth, their ranks, especially those of old females, were higher than the average expectation for their age class, which suggests that females compete more vigorously if they have an infant. Reproductive success (i.e., infant survival to ≥2 years) declined significantly from high-over middle-to low-ranking females but did not differ for the three age classes investigated, because the higher fecundity of young females was balanced by better rearing success of older females. These results are discussed in light of the controversy over whether the langur social system is strongly influenced by kin selection (Hrdy and Hrdy, 1976; Dolhinow et al., 1979).