, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 424–435 | Cite as

“Girney” vocalizations among Japanese macaque females: Context and function

  • Ben G. Blount


One vocalization in the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) system of communication is the “girney.” Previous studies indicated that the “girney” is used for short range communication and that it tends to occur when subordinate animals approach and groom dominant ones and when females without infants approach females who have infants. Data were collected on the social behavior of adult female Japanese monkeys of the Arashiyama-A troop in Texas in order to test those results. The study indicates that “girneys” are the most frequently occurring vocalizations of females during and following the birth season and that they occur primarily in two contexts. Those are the proximity of a female to another female with a new infant and the proximity of a lower ranking animal to a higher ranking one. The contexts are ones in which the risk of aggression is high, and the “girneys” appear to function as appeasement gestures to reduce the risk.

Key Words

Japanese macaques Communication Vocalizations Dominance Infants 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Altmann, J., 1974. Observational study of behavior: Sampling methods.Behaviour, 49: 227–267.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bernstein, I. & C. Ehardt, n.d. The influence of kinship and socialization on aggressive behavior in rhesus monkeys. (Unpub. manuscript).Google Scholar
  3. Bullard, J., 1984. Mount prompting behaviors of female Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Unpub. M.A. thesis, Univ. of Alberta, Alberta.Google Scholar
  4. Eaton, G. G., 1978. Longitudinal studies of sexual behavior in the Oregon troop of Japanese macaques. In:Sex and Behavior, Status and Prospectus,T. McGill,D. Dewsberry, &B. Sachs (eds.), Plenum Press, New York, pp. 35–59.Google Scholar
  5. Ehardt, C. &B. Blount, 1984. Mother-infant visual interaction in Japanese macaques.Develop. Psychobiol., 17: 391–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ehardt-Seward, C., 1980. The structure of social relationships in infant Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Unpub. Ph.D.2 dissertation, Univ. of Texas, Austin.Google Scholar
  7. Fedigan, L., 1976.A Study of Roles in the Arashiyama West Troop of Japanese Monkeys (Macaca fuscata). Contributions to Primatology, Vol. 9, S. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  8. Gouzoules, H., 1980. Biosocial determinants of behavioral variability in infant Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata). Unpub. Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison.Google Scholar
  9. ————,S. Gouzoules, &L. Fedigan, 1983. Male Japanese monkey mating strategies: Are female reproductive cues available?Amer. J. Primatol., 4: 344–345.Google Scholar
  10. Green, S., 1975. Variation in vocal pattern with social situation in the Japanese monkey (Macaca fuscata): A field study. In:Primate Behavior, Vol. 4,L. Rosenblum (ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 1–102.Google Scholar
  11. Horrocks, J. &W. Hunte, 1983. Rank relations in vervet sisters: A critique of the role of reproductive value.Amer. Naturalist, 122: 417–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Itani, J., 1963. Vocal communication of the wild Japanese monkey.Primates, 4(2): 11–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Itiogawa, N., 1973. Group organization of a natural troop of Japanese monkeys and mother-infant interactions. In:Behavioral Regulators of Behavior in Primates,C. Carpenter (ed.), Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, pp. 229–250.Google Scholar
  14. Koyama, N., 1970. Changes in dominance rank and division of a wild Japanese monkey troop in Arashiyama.Primates, 11: 336–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kurland, J., 1977.Kin Selection in the Japanese Monkey. Contributions to Primatology, Vol. 12, S. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  16. McDonald, M., 1983. The courtship behaviour of female Japanese monkeys. Unpub. M.A. thesis, McMaster Univ., Ontario.Google Scholar
  17. Mori, A., 1975. Signals found in the grooming interactions of wild Japanese monkeys of the Koshima troop.Primates, 16: 107–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wolfe, L., 1976. Sexual behavior of the Arashiyama West troop of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Unpub. Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of Oregon, Eugene.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben G. Blount
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, Baldwin HallUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations