International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 309–330 | Cite as

Intergroup encounters in wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus)

  • Susan Perry


Wrangham (1980) hypothesized that knowledge of the nature of intergroup encounters is crucial to understanding primate social relationships and social organization. I studied a single social group of wild white-faced capuchins over a period of 26 months and observed 44 encounters between social groups during 3703 hr of observation. All intergroup encounters consisted of predominantly hostile social interactions. However, nonaggressive interactions between males of different social groups occurred in a few cases. Adult males were the sole participants in 39 encounters and the primary participants in all 44 encounters. The alpha male was the most frequent participant. High-ranking females participated aggressively in five encounters, and low-ranking females never participated. There was no stable intergroup dominance hierarchy. I hypothesize that the need for male-male cooperation in intergroup aggression is an important factor influencing the quality of intragroup male-male relationships. Behavior during intergroup encounters is consistent with the idea that intergroup behavior is related to male reproductive strategies, but inconsistent with the idea that intergroup aggression is related to female defense of resources. The possibility that males are “hired guns” (Wrangham, 1980) cannot be ruled out.

Key words

Cebus capucinus intergroup aggression capuchins male reproductive strategies 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chapman, C. A., (1986).Boa constrictor predation and group response in white-faced cebus monkeys.Biotropica 18: 171–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chapman, C. A., and Fedigan, L. M. (1990). Dietary differences between neighboringCebus capucinus groups: Local traditions, food availability, or responses to food profitability?Folia Primatol. 54: 177–186.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheney, D. L., (1987). Interactions and relationships between groups. In Smuts, B. B., Cheney, D. L., Seyfarth, R. M, Wrangham, R. W., and Struhsaker, T. T. (eds.),Primate Societies, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 267–281.Google Scholar
  4. Cowlishaw, G., (1995). Behavioural patterns in baboon group encounters: The role of resource competition and male reproductive strategies.Behaviour 132: 75–86.Google Scholar
  5. Defler, T. (1982). A comparison of intergroup behavior inCebus albifrons andC. apella. Primates 23: 385–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dunbar, R. I. M. (1988).Primate Social Systems, Croom Helm, London.Google Scholar
  7. Fedigan, L. M. (1993). Sex differences and intersexual relations in adult white-faced capuchins(Cebus capucinus).Int. J. Primatol. 14: 853–877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fedigan, L. M., Rose, L. M., and Morera Avila, R. See how they grow: Tracking capuchin monkey populations in a regenerating Costa Rican dry forest (manuscript).Google Scholar
  9. Freese, C. (1983).Cebus capucinus (mono cara blanca, white-faced capuchin). In Janzen, D. (ed.),Costa Rican Natural History, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 458–460.Google Scholar
  10. Isbell, L. (1991). Contest and scramble competition: Patterns of female aggression and ranging behavior among primates.Behav. Ecol. 2: 143–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Janson, C. (1986). The mating system as a determinant of social evolution in capuchin monkeys(Cebus). In Else, J. G., and Lee, P. C. (eds.),Primate Ecology and Conservation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 169–179.Google Scholar
  12. Manson, J. H., and Wrangham, R. W. (1991). Intergroup aggression in chimpanzees and humans.Cur. Anthropol. 32: 369–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mitchell, B. (1989).Resources, Group Behavior, and Infant Development in White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys, Cebus capucinus, Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  14. NoË, R. (1992). Alliance formation among male baboons: Shopping for profitable partners. In Harcourt, A. H., and de Waal, F. B. M. (eds.),Coalitions and Alliances in Humans and Other Animals., Oxford Science, Oxford, pp. 285–321.Google Scholar
  15. NoË, R., van Schaik, C. P., and van Hooff, J. A. R. A. M. (1991). The market effect: An explanation for pay-off asymmetries among collaborating animals.Ethology 87: 97–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Oppenheimer, J. G. (1968).Behavior and Ecology of the White-Faced Monkey, Cebus capucinus, on Barro Colorado Island, C.Z., Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana.Google Scholar
  17. Oppenheimer, J. G. (1973). Social and communicatory behavior in theCebus monkey. In Carpenter, C. R. (ed.),Behavioral Regulators of Behavior in Primates, Associated University Presses, Cranbury, NJ, pp. 251–271.Google Scholar
  18. Oppenheimer, J. R., and Oppenheimer, E. C. (1973). Preliminary observations ofCebus nigrivittatus (Primates: Cebidae) on the Venezuelan Llanos.Folia Primatol. 19: 409–436.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Perry, S. (1995).Social Relationships in White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys, Cebus capucinus, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  20. Phillips, K. (1994). Resource patch use and social organization inCebus capucinus.Am. J. Primatol. 33: 233.Google Scholar
  21. Robinson, J. G. (1988). Group size in wedge-capped capuchin monkeysCebus olivaceus and the reproductive success of males and females.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 23: 187–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rose, L. (1994). Benefits and costs of resident males to females in white-faced capuchins,Cebus capucinus.Am. J. Primatol. 32: 235–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rose, L. M., and Fedigan, L. M. (1995). Vigilance in white-faced capuchins(Cebus capucinus) in Costa Rica.Anim. Behav. 49: 63–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Terborgh, J., and Janson, C. (1986). The socioecology of primate groups.Annu. Rev. Ecol. System. 17: 111–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Trivers, R. L. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In Campbell, B. (ed.),Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man, 1871-1971; Aldine Press, Chicago, pp. 136–179.Google Scholar
  26. van Hooff, J. A, R. A. M and van Schaik, C. P. (1992). Cooperation in competition: The ecology of primate bonds. In Harcourt, A. H., and de Waal, F. B. M. (eds.),Coalitions and Alliances in Humans and Other Animals, Oxford Science, Oxford, pp. 357–390.Google Scholar
  27. van Schaik, C. P. (1983). Why are diurnal primates living in groups?Behaviour 87: 120–144.Google Scholar
  28. van Schaik, C. P. (1989). The ecology of social relationships amongst female primates. In Standen, V. and Foley, G. R. A. (eds.),Comparative Socioecology, the Behavioural Ecology of Humans and Other Mammals, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 195–218.Google Scholar
  29. van Schaik, C. P., Assink, P. R., and Salafsky, N. (1992). Territorial behavior in Southeast Asian Iangurs: Resource defense or mate defense?Am. J. Primatol 26: 233–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wrangham, R. W. (1980). An ecological model of female-bonded primate groups.Behaviour 75: 264–300.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Perry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe University of MichiganAnn Arbor

Personalised recommendations