• stumptails;
  • long-term dominance;
  • matrilines;
  • standardized ranks;
  • old females


Consistent individual differences in long-term dominance are a basic underlying assumption of hypotheses linking dominance and reproductive success. Long-term and temporary dominance of a colony group of stumptailed macaques was studied for 20 years. There were two variously constituted groups for the first 4 years and a single group for the last 16. Stumptails displayed the matrilineal dominance organization found for several other cercopithecine species. A method was devised to standardize ranks so they could be compared over the years across groups of varying size and composition. No animal maintained the same dominance rank over the entire period of the research or over the last 16 years, but there was considerable consistency over long periods. Although occupants of the male and female alpha positions changed several times, one female was dominant for 18 of the 20 years. She was dominant in 1968, at the start of the study, and at its end in 1988 at which time her 18-year-old son was the dominant male. Variation in dominance ranks was greatest among members of mid-ranking matrilines and least for the lowest ranking. The same female or her son were the lowest ranking animals of their groups in all samples taken over the entire 20 years.