Wounding patterns in three species of captive macaques

Authors

  • Thomas E. Ruehlmann,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
    2. Departments of Zoology, University of Georgia, Athens
    • Department of Zoology, University of Georgia Athens, GA 30602
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  • Irwin S. Bernstein,

    1. Departments of Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
    2. Departments of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens
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  • Thomas P. Gordon,

    1. Departments of Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Peter Balcaen

    1. Departments of Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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Abstract

The incidence of wounding in captive groups of rhesus (Macaca mulatta), pigtail (M. nemestrina), and stumptail (M. arctoides) macaques was studied for 21 months. Groups were monitored daily for evidence of wounding. Wounded animals were captured, treated by veterinary staff, and returned following recovery. Records were kept on the age, sex, and species of the recipient, along with the type and location of wound. In each species of macaque, adult males incurred the highest frequency of wounds and multiple wounds of any age-sex class. This contrasted with previously reported behavioral data indicating low frequencies of aggression received by adult males, especially contact aggression and bites. These discrepancies indicate wounding frequencies do not necessarily correspond with behavioral measures of aggression. Inhibition of aggression directed toward infants and the selective avoidance of bites directed to vital body regions were presented as possible mechanisms that modify intragroup aggression. Increased wounding in the birth season under captive conditions suggests that the pattern of increased wounding reported during the breeding season under freeranging conditions may reflect xenophobic responses to immigrating males, rather than direct male-male competition for estrous females.

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