International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 215–234

Individual and social behavioral responses to injury in wild toque macaques (Macaca Sinica)

  • Wolfgang P. J. Dittus
  • Shyamala M. Ratnayeke

DOI: 10.1007/BF02735201

Cite this article as:
Dittus, W.P.J. & Ratnayeke, S.M. Int J Primatol (1989) 10: 215. doi:10.1007/BF02735201


Toque macaques (Macaca sinica),inhabiting natural forest at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, are frequently injured in fights with conspecifics. The behavior of known individuals when they were injured was compared to that after they had recovered their health. Thus, injured animals rested and alloand autogroomed more, but they foraged less and initiated fewer aggressive episodes. They spent most time being sedentary in the safety of arboreal refuges and reduced acrobatic movements by locomoting more often terrestrially. Other group members showed no special tolerance (or altruism) toward injury victims during the costly and highly competitive activity of foraging for food. In fact, some injured animals received more aggression, or lost dominance rank, and thereby had their competitive abilities further impaired. Care for the injured was manifest mostly by grooming and wound cleaning. All hair in the area surrounding a wound, as well as dirt, scabs, and fly larvae, were removed, and saliva was applied by licking the wound (wounds so treated healed with no obvious signs of infection). (1) Injured macaques sought and received significantly more grooming (owing to wound care); (2) the amount so received increased with the severity of the injury; and (3) the initiative of other group members often compensated for a victim’s inability to solicit care. Juvenile males were especially attentive to injured adult males, suggesting that they were investing in a social bond with these adults, which might reciprocate altruism toward their juvenile caregivers in the future. Injured juvenile females received most care from their mothers.

Key words

Macaca sinica injury wound care activity budget competition altruism grooming 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang P. J. Dittus
    • 1
  • Shyamala M. Ratnayeke
    • 3
  1. 1.National Zoological ParkSmithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C.
  2. 2.Institute of Fundamental StudiesKandySri Lanka
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka

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