International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 785-802

First online:

Social communication among captive stump-tailed macaques (Macaca arctoides)

  • Dario MaestripieriAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology and Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University

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I compared the frequency of occurrence, contextual usage, and meaning of some of the most prominent gestural signals in stump-tailed macaques. I recorded the occurrence of 15 visual and tactile behavior patterns in a multimale multifemale captive group of stump-tailed macaques with the behavior sampling method in 100 hr of observation and analyzed the data via factor analysis and analyis of variance. The hindquarter presentation was the most frequent gesture. It was displayed by subordinates to appease dominants even in the absence of impending risk of aggression. Bared-teeth, lip-smack, teeth-chatter, and present-arm are submissive signals as well, but they differ from the presentation and from one another in their contextual usage. Nonthrusting mount, hip-touch, hip-clasp, and genital manipulation are directed down the hierarchy and appear to reflect dominance, reassurance, protection, or bonding. Mock-bite is a ritualized aggressive behavior pattern, often used to resolve uncertain dominance relationships. Ventroventral embrace occurs as a female bonding pattern. Overall, most gestural signals in stump-tailed macaques relate to dominance and submission and, to a lesser extent, social bonding.

Key words

gestural communication social dynamics macaques Macaca arctoides