International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 871–886 | Cite as

Kinship and Intragroup Social Dynamics in Two Sympatric African Colobus Species

  • Tania MinhósEmail author
  • Cláudia Sousa
  • Luis M. Vicente
  • Michael W. Bruford


Kinship has been described as a major factor shaping primates’ social dynamics, with individuals biasing their affiliative interactions to their related counterparts. However, it has also been demonstrated that, under certain circumstances, social bonding can be established in the absence of kin. The fact that Colobus polykomos (western black-and-white colobus) and Procolobus badius temminckii (Temminck’s red colobus) often live in sympatry (subject to the same ecological/anthropogenic pressures) but exhibit contrasting social systems makes them good models to test which factors shape their social systems. We investigated the influence of kinship on intragroup social dynamics of one focal group of each species present in Cantanhez National Park, Guinea-Bissau. Between October 2008 and June 2009 we used focal sampling to collect information on the individuals’ nearest neighbors and ad libitum sampling to collect data on intragroup social interactions. We estimated pairwise relatedness using fecal DNA from 9 individuals of Colobus polykomos and 15 individuals of Procolobus badius temminckii genotyped at 15 microsatellite loci. We found that, in the focal group of Colobus polykomos, individuals showed no preference to interact or be spatially closer to related partners. Moreover, mainly unrelated females and related males composed the focal group of Procolobus badius temminckii but grooming was most frequent among female dyads and only rarely involved male dyads. We conclude that kinship is not an important factor determining the social bonding in either study species, suggesting that other factors, e.g., anthropogenic, ecological, may be at play shaping these groups’ social bonding.


Colobines Noninvasive sampling Relatedness Social behavior West Africa 



This study was financed by a Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia grant (SFRH/BPD/87396/2012) to T. Minhós. We thank Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (IBAP) in Guinea-Bissau for facilitating fieldwork in Guinea-Bissau and providing logistical support. We thank Forestry and Fauna Department (DGFC) and Action for Development (AD) for field assistance and permits and National Institute for Studies and Research (INEP) and Gabinete de Planificação Costeira for providing us with the land cover maps. We sincerely thank Mutaro Galiza, Mamadu (Catomboi), and Saido Kuiaté for the great assistance in the field, helping in the data collection and the local community for welcoming us. We also thank Maria Ferreira da Silva and Rui Sá for the great discussions and their insights across all stages of the work; K. Hockings, C. Casanova A. Barata, and M. Carmo for the great insights during fieldwork; and J. Carvalho for the help with statistical analyses. Finally, we thank the Editor-in-Chief Dr Joanna M Setchell, the Associate Editor James Higham, two anonymous reviewers, and D. Starin, K. Hockings, and R. Xavier for the helpful comments that improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tania Minhós
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Cláudia Sousa
    • 4
    • 5
  • Luis M. Vicente
    • 6
  • Michael W. Bruford
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas (CAPP), Instituto Superior de Ciência Sociais e PolíticasUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Gulbenkian da Ciência (IGC)OeirasPortugal
  3. 3.Organisms and Environment Division, School of BiosciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  4. 4.Departamento de Antropologia, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e HumanasUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  5. 5.Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA)LisboaPortugal
  6. 6.Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), Departamento de Biologia AnimalFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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