Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 257–263 | Cite as

Kin and non-kin interventions in the aggressive disputes of vervet monkeys

  • W. Hunte
  • J. A. Horrocks


Interventions in aggressive disputes were investigated in a free-living troop of vervets (Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus) in Barbados. Interventions on behalf of kin were more frequent than on behalf of non-kin. Both types of interventions were more likely when the intervening animal outranked the opponent; presumably because retaliation probability, and hence cost of intervening, is low against low ranking opponents. The number of interventions given on behalf of both kin and non-kin increased with the number of disputes in which they were involved. In contrast to kin interventions, the number of interventions given on behalf of non-kin was correlated with that received by non-kin, suggesting that reciprocation is a necessary component of non-kin interventions. Non-kin interventions were more likely when the recipient outranked the opponent, presumably because reciprocation probability is high. Pairs of non-kin form structured reciprocal relationships based on the proportion of interventions allocated to each other, and most non-kin interventions flowed through these relationships. Males intervened on behalf of non-kin more frequently than did females. The implications of the results for the evolution of kin and reciprocal altruism were discussed.


Reciprocal Relationship Vervet Monkey Reciprocal Altruism 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Hunte
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. A. Horrocks
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Bellairs Research Institute of McGill UniversitySt. James
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of the West IndiesBarbados

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