• female social dominance;
  • aggression;
  • submission;
  • spatial relations;
  • prosimians


Female social dominance over males is thought to characterize most of the prosimian primates of Madagascar. It has been reported in Propithecus verreauxi coquereli in the wild but intersexual relations were not fully characterized. In this paper we examine female-male spatial and agonistic relations in semi-free-ranging P. v. coquereli in order to evaluate intersexual social dominance and related behavioral asymmetries. Two hundred hours of focal sampling were conducted on two pairs of P. v. coquereli at the Duke University Primate Center, Durham, NC. Behavioral categories including approach, departure, follow, pass, replace, and aggression were scored and recorded. Our results show strong asymmetry of aggressive encounters, suggesting female dominance over males. No submissive signals were observed. The analysis of spatial relations showed that males were more active than females in maintaining proximity and, on average, male spatial movements could be predicted by female location and activities more often than vice versa. These results indicate a spatially central role for the female of each pair. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.