Association patterns and affiliative relationships outside a troop in wild male Japanese macaques, Macaca fuscata, during the non-mating season

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  • 1 Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies, Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Japan

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In many mammals, males disperse more than females. Although males in some male-dispersing species form all-male groups, little is known about the association patterns or social relationships among them. Studies on male–male social relationships have primarily focused on competition over fertile females, but affiliative relationships among males have attracted much interest recently. I suggested a novel method for the classification of males based on their behaviour by principal component analysis (PCA), and investigated association patterns, and affiliative relationships in male Japanese macaques, Macaca fuscata, during the non-mating season. I observed 12 wild male Japanese macaques for 809 h during the non-mating season. The number of other animals within visual range, the amount of time that males spent in the vicinity of other animals, and the frequency of grooming interactions were examined. I classified males into two distinctive clusters (Cluster 1 and 2) according to their association and interaction patterns. Cluster 1 males associated with females and participated in grooming with them. Cluster 2 males had less visual encounters with females and did not groom them. Cluster 2 males showed proximity to other Cluster 2 males in all possible dyads. Although Cluster 2 males showed less proximity to each other than Cluster 1 males did, they frequently exchanged grooming among themselves. Cluster 2 males groomed Cluster 1 males more frequently than they were groomed by them. These results suggested that Cluster 1 were troop males, and Cluster 2 were non-troop males. Cluster 2 males had less opportunity for social interaction than Cluster 1 (troop) males, and they may form all-male groups. Males in all-male groups engaged in more frequent grooming than troop males. In addition, they groomed troop males more frequently than they were groomed. These results suggest that males could be separated by their behaviour. Male–male affiliative relationships might be influenced by within-group potential competition and imbalanced grooming appears to cause troop males to tolerate non-troop males which might be immigrated in near future.

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