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Female social structure influences, and is influenced by, male introduction and integration success among captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

In: Behaviour
Authors:
Krishna N. BalasubramaniamDepartment of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis, Davis CA 95616, USA

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Brianne A. BeisnerDepartment of Animal Resources, Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station, Emory University, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA

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Brenda McCowanDepartment of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis, Davis CA 95616, USA

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Mollie A. BloomsmithDepartment of Animal Resources, Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station, Emory University, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA

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Abstract

Animal social structure is influenced by multiple socioecological factors. Of these, the links between changes to group demography through the arrival of new individuals and residents’ social structure remain unclear. Across seven groups of captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), we examine how male introductions may be influenced by, and in-turn influence, aspects of female social structure. GLMMs revealed that males integrated more successfully into groups in which females showed more ‘despotic’ social structures, i.e., higher aggression rates, steeper dominance hierarchies, and greater rank-skew in allogrooming network connectedness. Yet during periods that followed males’ social integration, females increased their social tolerance (decreased aggression and shallower hierarchies) and group cohesivity (less clustered allogrooming networks), but retained their tendencies to groom dominants. Our findings, independent of group size and matrilineal relatedness, help better understand how dispersal/immigration may influence social structure, and how assessing changes to social structure may inform macaque welfare and management.

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