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A resident-nepotistic-tolerant dominance style in wild white-nosed coatis (Nasua narica)?

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 Department of Biosciences, College of Science, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  • | 2 Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México
  • | 3 Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
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Abstract

Dominance relationships imply consistent asymmetries in social relationships. Socioecological models predict that resource distribution determines the mode of competition that animals will face and, ultimately, the nature of their social relationships. Here, we provide the first systematic investigation of dominance style in white-nosed coatis (Nasua narica). Coatis live in cohesive female-resident groups, and have a diet based on clumped (fruits) and dispersed (insects) food items, which are predicted to favour despotic and egalitarian social styles, respectively. Our results revealed moderate linearity and steepness in dominance relationships over time, with variations attributed to stages of reproductive season, rather than presumed variations in food resources. Primary social bonds and coalitions were found to mediate dominance rank. Overall, our results suggest some similarities between coatis and despotic-tolerant primate species, at least under particular ecological circumstances, and we discuss their potential for affording a deeper understanding on the sources of variation in mammal social systems.

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