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Am J Primatol. 2009 Aug;71(8):670-9. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20702.

Social dynamics of the golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana): female transfer and one-male unit succession.

Author information

1
College of Life Sciences, Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China of Ministry of Education, Northwest University, Xi'an, China.

Abstract

Among primates that form multilevel societies, understanding factors and mechanisms associated with the movement of individuals between groups, clans, and one-male social units offers important insight into primate reproductive and social strategies. In this research we present data based on an 8-year field study of a multilevel troop of Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) in the Qinling Mountains of China. Our study troop contained 78-126 individuals, and was usually organized into 6-8 one-male units (OMU). The majority of OMUs were composed of networks of unrelated females and their offspring. We found that 59.7% (43/72) of subadult and adult females in our study troop transferred between OMUs (n=66) or disappeared (n=7) from the troop. In the majority of cases, two or more females transferred together into new OMUs or troops. In R. roxellana, new OMUs formed in several ways. During 2001-2008, 16 adult males appeared in the study troop. Over this period, we observed 13 different males who became harem leaders either by taking over an existing harem or by attracting females from other OMUs into their harem. We also observed four OMUs from a neighboring troop to successfully immigrate into the study troop. The number of individuals in these newly immigrated OMUs was significantly smaller than that number of individuals in resident OMUs. During harem formation, fighting between adult males was rarely observed, and female mate choice appeared to play a crucial role in harem male recruitment and replacement. These results suggest that golden snub-nosed monkeys are organized in a nonmatrilineal social system. Female mate choice and possibly incest avoidance appear to play important roles in female transfer, male tenure, and OMU stability.

PMID:
19434626
DOI:
10.1002/ajp.20702
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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