, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 703-722

Intertroop Transfer and Dominance Rank Structure of Nonnatal Male Japanese Macaques in Yakushima, Japan

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Abstract

We examined the interaction between intertroop transfer and male dominance ranks in a wild population of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) in Yakushima using data collected over 15 years. Intertroop transfer tended to maintain a linear, stable, and age-graded dominance rank order among nonnatal males irrespective of variation in troop size or composition. All males that joined a troop at the top of the rank order were prime adults. Among males joining at lower ranks, entry at the most subordinate position in the hierarchy was common. Males joining at lower ranks tended to join troops in which all other resident males were the same age or older. Adult males tended to join troops with few or no males. Young males tended to join troops with many resident males, and in which a relatively large proportion of males was other young ones. Intertroop transfer was responsible for most rank changes of resident males. The most common cause of males rising in rank was the emigration or death of a higher-ranking male. Males fell in rank most frequently as a result of a new male joining the troop at the top of the hierarchy. Rank reversals among resident males were rare. The cumulative effects of male transfers produce sociodemographic variation within a troop over time and sociodemographic diversity among troops in a local population. A key feature of intertroop diversity is that larger troops have a significantly greater proportion of young males than smaller troops. This diversity also creates the potential for intertroop variation in the severity of male competition and provides a range of options for transferring males.