International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 59–77

The variable social organization of hanuman langurs(Presbytis entellus), infanticide, and the monopolization of females


  • Paul N. Newton
    • Department of ZoologyAnimal Ecology Research Group
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF02740198

Cite this article as:
Newton, P.N. Int J Primatol (1988) 9: 59. doi:10.1007/BF02740198


Data from 24 wild populations of hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus)in south Asia are used to test hypotheses seeking to explain variation in troop structure and the incidence of infanticide. The occurrence of infanticide is associated with a one-male troop structure and not with a high density. The density, predation, and economic-advantage hypotheses, as explanations for the occurrence of one-male and multimale troops, are not supported by the review. However, the monopolization hypothesis is not contradicted; the number of adult males per troop is significantly correlated with troop size and with the number of adult females per troop. Therefore it is suggested that a one-male troop structure will arise if a male is able to monopolize a group of females, a multimale troop if he cannot. One-male troops may predispose to infanticide because of high variance in male mating success and high intermale competition between groups rather than within troops. If female dispersion determines troop structure, it is speculated that females could manipulate males to form a multimale society if the advantages in terms of infant survival and intertroop conflict exceeded the costs in terms of not producing infanticidal “sexy sons.”

Key words

Presbytis entellussocial organizationinfanticidereproductive strategies
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988