Dominance style in female guerezas (Colobus guerezaRüppell 1835)
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Socioecological models assume that quality and distribution of food ultimately determine female social relationships: a high quality diet and clumped food distribution should result in the establishment of a hierarchy with stable rank relations which is supported by empirical studies on frugivorous cercopithecines. By contrast, folivorous species with their low quality diet and dispersed food distribution should have egalitarian social relationships but empirical data are very rare. This study on female guerezas of a zoo group aimed to test the models in a colobine species and the results largely agreed with the predictions of the models: facial expressions, vocalizations, and gestures were not used for signalling dominance or subordination. Unritualized aggressions occurred frequently but were of low intensity, and interventions by third parties were never observed. Aggressions were exchanged bidirectionally and this was true also for food stealing and retreats. All this indicated the lack of established rank relations. Allogrooming was distributed rather equally and showed no kin bias. All these features characterize egalitarian social relationships and, hence, support the socioecological models.
Key WordsColobus guereza Colobinae Female relations Dominance style Rank relations Egalitarian relationships
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