Effects of group composition on agonistic behavior of captive pigtail macaques, Macaca nemestrina

J. Dazey, K. Kuyk, M. Oswald, J. Martenson, J. Erwin

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16 Scopus citations


We surveyed agonistic behaviors of 20 captive groups of pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina) housed under identical spatial conditions. Fifteen groups contained one male each; the other five groups contained no adult males. Groups included six to twelve adult females, some of which had infants with them. We found no relationship between social density of groups and incidence of agonistic behavior, but significantly more contact aggression (grab, hit, push, bite) and noncontact aggression (chase, open‐mouth “threat,” bark vocalization) occurred among females in groups containing no males than in those containing one male each. Apparently, males played an important role in the inhibition of intragroup conflict. We also found that females in groups containing males exhibited less noncontact aggression if infants were present than if no infants resided in their groups. Thus, competition of females over infants must not have been an important constituent of intragroup conflict under the conditions of this survey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-76
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1977


  • Aggression
  • Agonistic behavior
  • Control role
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Pigtail macaque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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