, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 13–23 | Cite as

Inter-individual relationships in proboscis monkeys: a preliminary comparison with other non-human primates

  • Ikki MatsudaEmail author
  • Augustine Tuuga
  • Henry Bernard
  • Takeshi Furuichi
Original Article


This is the first report on inter-individual relationships within a one-male group of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) based on detailed identification of individuals. From May 2005 to 2006, focal and ad libitum data of agonistic and grooming behaviour were collected in a forest along the Menanggul River, Sabah, Malaysia. During the study period, we collected over 1,968 h of focal data on the adult male and 1,539 h of focal data on the six females. Their social interactions, including agonistic and grooming behaviour, appeared to follow typical patterns reported for other colobines: the incidence of social interaction within groups is low. Of 39 agonistic events, 26 were displacement from sleeping places along the river, 6 were the α male threatening other monkeys to mediate quarrels between females and between females and juveniles, and 7 were displacement from feeding places. Although the agonistic behaviour matrix based on the 33 intra-group agonistic events (excluding events between adults and juveniles and between adults and infants) was indicative of non-significant linearity, there were some specific dominated individuals within the group of proboscis monkeys. Nonetheless, grooming behaviour among adult females within a group were not affected by the dominance hierarchy. This study also conducted initial comparisons of grooming patterns among proboscis monkeys and other primate species. On the basis of comparison of their grooming networks, similar grooming patterns among both-sex-disperse and male-philopatric/female-disperse species were detected. Because adult females in these species migrate to groups repeatedly, it may be difficult to establish the firm grooming exchange relationship for particular individuals within groups, unlike in female-philopatric/male-disperse species. However, grooming distribution patterns within groups among primate species were difficult to explain solely on the basis of their dispersal patterns. Newly immigrated females in some species including proboscis monkeys are eager to have social interactions with senior group members to improve their social position.


Colobines Nasalis larvatus Aggression Dominance hierarchy Grooming Dispersal pattern 



We express our sincere thanks to the Economic Planning Unit of the Malaysian Government, especially M.Bt.A. Manan and G. Vu, for permission to conduct our research in Malaysia. We particularly thank the staff of the Sabah Wildlife Department for their permission to conduct our research in Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. We also thank the staff of the Forestry Department, Sabah, especially Haji H. Tukiman and L. Ruki for arranging our base camp. We are grateful to I. Lackman-Ancrenaz, M. Ancrenaz, Z.A. Jaffer, A.B. Etin, and all members of the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project for their help. We thank our research assistants, especially A. Bin Arsih and M.S. Bin A. Karim for their support. Advice and support has been generously supplied by S. Higashi, Y. Sugiyama, K. Watanabe, G. Hanya, Y. Muroyama, Y. Akiyama, A. MacIntosh, and Rizaldi. I. Matsuda truly appreciates Y. Matsuda for supporting my field work. Finally, we are grateful to T. Nishida, M. Nakamichi, C.A. Chapman, J. Yamagiwa, and anonymous reviewers for their fruitful comments that improved this article. This study was partly financed by Special Postdoctoral Researchers Program and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, and was conducted in compliance with animal care regulations and applicable Malaysian laws.

Supplementary material

10329_2011_259_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (78 kb)
Supplementary Appendix I (PPTX 77 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ikki Matsuda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Augustine Tuuga
    • 2
  • Henry Bernard
    • 3
  • Takeshi Furuichi
    • 1
  1. 1.Primate Research InstituteKyoto UniversityInuyamaJapan
  2. 2.Sabah Wildlife DepartmentSabahMalaysia
  3. 3.Institute for Tropical Biology and ConservationUniversiti Malaysia SabahSabahMalaysia

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