International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 281–292 | Cite as

Factors affecting social behavior and reproductive success of male rhesus monkeys

  • Stephen H. Vessey
  • Douglas B. Meikle
Review Article


This paper reviews aspects of life history that influence the reproductive success of male rhesus monkeys. Recent theories propose that there is some optimum level of inbreeding for each population and that behaviors related to group transfer by males are the result of selection pressure toward such an optimum. Group changing by males is clearly linked to the effects of testosterone at sexual maturation. A male’s maternal genealogical rank is not consistently related to the age at which it leaves the natal group, but social interactions within the natal group may influence the age of departure. Choice of the new group is influenced by the operational sex ratio and the presence of maternal relatives. Rank in the new group is positively correlated with seniority. Seniority, in turn, is influenced by the rank of the male’s natal group, his mother’s genealogical rank, and the presence of male siblings in the new group. Much of this effect is due to the high mortality of males born to females and/or groups of low rank. Most studies show a positive association between male reproductive success and rank. Males from high-ranking groups and/or maternal genealogies that join groups containing brothers tend to remain in those groups longer, attain a higher rank, and probably achieve higher levels of reproduction than other males.

Key words

rhesus male group transfer rank 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen H. Vessey
    • 1
  • Douglas B. Meikle
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBowling Green State UniversityBowling Green
  2. 2.Department of BiologyHood CollegeFrederick

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