Correlates of Self-directed Behaviors in Captive Cercopithecus aethiops
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Researchers have widely used self-directed behaviors (SDB) as a behavioral indicator of anxiety in nonhuman primates. We examined if SDB rates in captive vervets (Cercopithecus aethiops) were associated with 1) proximity to conspecifics in general, 2) relative dominance rank of proximity partners, and 3) postconflict situations. Subjects were members of a captive group of vervets at the Lisbon Zoo, Portugal. The group comprised 3 males and 7 females, which were focal sampled for 10.5 h each. Vervets did not engage in more SBD while in proximity of conspecifics than while alone, and individual SDB rates were not generally influenced by dominance ranks of neighbors. Yet, victims of conflicts significantly increased their SDB rates after agonistic episodes, which is consistent with the view that SDB rates are an index of anxiety in Cercopithecus aethiops.
Keywordsdominance postconflict anxiety self-directed behavior vervet
We thank Dr. Fernando Paisana for permission to conduct the study at the Lisbon Zoological Garden. We also acknowledge all reviewers, especially Brian Vaughn, whose criticisms helped us improve previous versions of the paper. A PRODEPIII/2002 grant awarded to J. R. Daniel provided funding for the study.
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