Intergroup transfer and incest avoidance in semifree-ranging barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) at Salem (FRG)



During a long-term study of social behavior of semifree-ranging Barbary macaques, data on group transfer and sexual behavior were collected. A large population containing five groups living in a 14.5 ha outdoor enclosure was studied. Demographic data on the whole population are available for a period of six years. Data on sexual behavior of members of one large group were collected, by both focal animal and ad libitum techniques, for a period of two years. Matrilineal kinship relations of all except the oldest members of this intensively studied group were known. Males changed groups most frequently between the ages of three and five years i.e., the time at which sexual maturity was reached. While more than 30% of all males three years old and older changed groups during the study period, many males remained members of their natal group even after reaching adulthood. However, sexual interactions, especially matings between close matrilineal relatives, were found to be almost absent, suggesting that Barbary macaques are not highly inbred as formerly supposed.