Food conditions, competitive regime, and female social relationships in Japanese macaques: within-population variation on Yakushima
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Feeding conditions, competitive regime, and female social relationships of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) on Yakushima were compared between the two habitats at two different altitudes (coniferous forest, 1,000–1,200 m and coastal forest, 0–200 m). Fruit availability was higher in the coastal forest. There was no consistent difference in the frequency of agonistic interactions within a group during feeding between the two habitats. The coastal forest evoked stronger inter-group contest competition compared to the coniferous forest as evidenced by a higher inter-group encounter rate and a higher proportion of aggressive encounters to non-aggressive ones. Birth rate was higher in larger groups compared to smaller ones in the coastal forest, but did not differ in the coniferous forest. In spite of these differences in competitive regime, no variation in female social relationships was observed, such as direction and concentration on particular individuals in grooming, linearity in dominance rank, counter-attack, and support of juvenile kin during agonistic interactions. The present results indicate that the female social relationships of Japanese macaques are robust and do not change according to changes in the current environment.
KeywordsSocioecology Feeding competition Within-group contests Between-group contests
This study would not have been possible without help from the members of “Yakuzaru-Chosatai” (Yakushima Macaque Research Group) who voluntarily joined the censuses. We would like to thank our friends and colleagues in Yakushima for their hospitality and help. Dr. C. P. van Schaik, reviewers and the editor of this journal and the staff at the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University (KUPRI), gave us helpful suggestions on the manuscript. The Yakushima Forest Environment Conservation Center gave us permission to conduct the research. The Sarugoya Committee and Field Research Center of KUPRI offered us excellent facilities. We are grateful to these people and organizations. This study was financed by the Cooperation Research Program of KUPRI, MEXT Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows, 21st Century COE Program (A14) and Global COE Program “Formation of a Strategic Base for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Research: from Genome to Ecosystem”.
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