, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 33–50 | Cite as

Social relationships between adult male and female rhesus macaques: II. non-sexual affiliative behaviour

  • David A. Hill


The social relationships of adult male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Group I of the Cayo Santiago colony were studied over a period of 14 months. Relationships were found in which adult males and sexually mature females were persistently close to one another in nonsexual contexts, both within and across seasons. Males of long tenure and high dominance rank tended to have more female partners, and more persistent relationships, than more recent immigrants of lower rank. Correlations with length of tenure were stronger than those with dominance rank. Closely-related females tended to have persistent relationships with the same male. In most cases the female was primarily responsible for maintaining proximity in non-sexual contexts.

Dyads which were persistently within 5 m of each other in the birth season were more likely to form a consortship in the subsequent mating season than those which had a brief relationship. A similar tendency was apparent in the 1 m data but it was not statistically significant. There was no association between persistent proximity during the birth season and the occurrence of long, or multiple consortships, nor with the maintenance of proximity or direction of grooming between consort partners. The pattern of consortships was not closely related to the formation of persistent relationships in the subsequent birth season. Females occasionally received protection from their male partners and, in some cases, spent more time in the feeding corral with them than did other females.

Affiliative relationships can be very enduring and may have long-term benefits that were not apparent during the study period.

Key Words

Non-sexual relationships Long-term relationships Rhesus macaques Adult males Cayo Santiago 


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for African Area StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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