Agonistic and Affiliative Relationships of Adult Female Howlers (Alouatta palliata ) in Costa Rica Over a 4-Year Period

Zucker, Evan L.; Clarke, Margaret R.
June 1998
International Journal of Primatology;Jun98, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p433
Academic Journal
We observed 12 adult female mantled howlers ( Alouatta palliata), which have been part of Group 2 at Hacienda La Pacifica, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, via focal animal sampling during portions of July and August of 1988 and 1990–1992 (7–9 females/year, 955.3 hr of observation). We used agonistic interactions and time in proximity (<1 m) as indices of social relationships. The rate of female–female agonistic interactions was 0.38/hr (yearly range: 0.24 to 0.51/hr). Yearly dominance hierarchies, based on outcomes of dyadic agonistic interactions, varied in linearity between 60.7 and 94.6%. Adult females spent 7.10% of their time in proximity to another adult female (yearly range: 1.04–15.64%) and 4.95% of their time in proximity to an adult male (yearly range: 2.27–7.51%). Using yearly dominance ranks, we tested proximity patterns for differences based on rank and presence of dependent offspring. In 3 of the 4 years, high-ranking females spent significantly greater proportions of their time in proximity with other females than did low-ranking females. Time in proximity with the 3 or 4 adult males was not associated with rank. Having a dependent infant was not related to the proportion of time in proximity to females or males, and females, especially top-ranking ones, spent more time in proximity to females with dependent infants than to females without infants. These results show that social relationships in mantled howler groups are dynamic and generally support predictions made by von Schaik (1989) regarding scramble-type, female competitors. We also discuss the roles of immigrations, infants, and male relationships in the patterning of social relationships.


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