International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 479–500 | Cite as

Dynamics of fission in a wild Barbary macaque group (Macaca sylvanus)

  • Nelly Ménard
  • Dominique Vallet


We studied the dynamics of a group of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in Algeria from March 1983 to November 1989. Troop fission began in autumn 1987, when group size had more than doubled, to include 76 animals. We observed 11 temporary splits of this group during the mating seasons of 1987 and 1988. The process was interrupted during the 1988 birth season. In June 1989, fission resumed and ended with the formation of three independent groups that included 50, 24, and 13 individuals. Adult females played an important role in the process of fission. They initiated the rapid formation of two, and later three, coherent nuclei, distributed in two or three bisexual subgroups; on several occasions these nuclei also formed subgroups without any adult males. Adult males remained together in a single nucleus for longer periods of time than females did. However, during fission, 35% (N=20) of resident males emigrated to neighboring groups, while 11 strange males immigrated into the focal group; over 6 years, 57% of the male transfers occurred after the beginning of the process. After group fission, maternally related individuals lived together in the new groups. The majority of resident males remained with the largest of the three groups, while most of the immigrant males were in another group. The third group included a single adult male. Possible factors that induce group fission are discussed.

Key Words

wild Barbary macaques social dynamics group fission male migration 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nelly Ménard
    • 1
  • Dominique Vallet
    • 1
  1. 1.URA 373CNRS, Station BiologiquePaimpontFrance

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