International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 383–403 | Cite as

Seasonal influences on rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) behavior

  • Irwin S. Bernstein


Seasonal differences in the behavior of 2.5- to 4.5-year-old female subjects and male subjects >2.5 years of age were studied in two rhesus monkey groups over a period of 6 years. The frequencies and durations of sexual acts and states were higher during the Fall in Georgia, USA, but were significant only with regard to female partners. Total time in social proximity, scores for proximity by partner without social interaction, nonspecific contact, grooming received, and noncontact forms of aggression with female partners were also higher in the Fall. Although more submission and agonistically ambiguous responses were received from female partners during the Fall, no seasonal pattern prevailed for responses performed. More contact aggression was directed to males in the Spring, and the pattern of agonistic behavior observed cannot be accounted for by males fighting over estrous females. Significantly more play was observed among subjects in the Fall, but the oldest males played more in the Spring. Some patterns, like huddling, were seen more in the Fall, but they may have been due to temperature differences. Seasonal differences in morphology and behavior cannot be attributed to a single variable, like temperature, level of gonadal hormones, or sexual competition, and may reflect a broader adaptation to seasonal variables.

Key Words

seasonality sex aggression intrasexual competition grooming play 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irwin S. Bernstein
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthens
  2. 2.Yerkes Regional Primate Research CenterEmory UniversityEmoryUSA

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