In three captive groups of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatto) the intensity of inbreeding avoidance was directly correlated with the closeness of kinship. The incidence of inbreeding between matrilineal relatives was lower than expected were mating to occur randomly with regard to matrilineal affiliation. The avoidance of mating between sons and their mothers and between matrilineal sibs contributed about squally to this outcome. The incidence of mating between more remote matrilineal relatives was lower than, but could not be shown to differ significantly from, that expected at the 0.05 level of probability. Familiarity fostered by interactions among matriline members probably provides a focus for avoidance of matrilineal inbreeding, and might influence male dispersal. Results of this study are consistent with reports of female rhesus macaques' avoidance of sexual activity with matrilineal male relatives as predicted by parental investment theory
The observed incidence of inbreeding between patrilineal relatives was not different from that expected, but significantly fewer of the patrilineally inbred matings involved father/daughter matings than expected were mating random. Recognition of phenotypic similarities might provide a focus for avoidance of inbreeding between fathers and their daughters, but is loss reliable than strategies for avoiding matrilineal inbreeding. Adaptations for avoiding matrilineal inbreeding that are more effective than those for avoiding patrilineal inbreeding might have evolved because the risk of patrilineal inbreeding, and hence the resulting loss in fitness, is marginal compared to that for matrilineal inbreeding in free-ranging groups. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.