Dominance relationships among siamang males living in multimale groups

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Luca Morino
American Journal of Primatology
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Intense intolerance among males is considered to be an important mechanism maintaining the uni-male organization traditionally attributed to socially monogamous gibbons. Long-term field work, however, has revealed the existence of stable, socially polyandrous groups in at least two populations, raising questions about the mechanism that allows two adult males to co-reside in the same group. I collected 21 months of behavioral data on 7 two-male groups of wild siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus) in southern Sumatra (Indonesia) to test the hypothesis that dominance relationships regulate the interactions of adult male siamangs and ultimately facilitate multi-male social groups. A dominant male could clearly be identified in each dyad, based on a consistent direction of agonistic interactions, displacements and the maintenance of an advantageous position in the canopy. Males identified as dominant enjoyed greater social access to the resident female and monopolized copulations. These results suggest that gibbons possess the psycho-social flexibility to regulate intra-sexual aggression and live in multi-male social units under certain social conditions. I discuss the effects that relatedness between males and female choice have in determining this grouping pattern, and the role of male intolerance in the maintenance of primate mating systems. Am. J. Primatol. 78:288–297, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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