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Keywords:

  • Trachypithecus phayrei;
  • displacements;
  • aggression-submission;
  • feeding context;
  • directional consistency;
  • linearity

Abstract

Socioecological theory suggests a link between the strength of competition for food/safety, rates of agonism, structure of dominance hierarchies, and dispersal among group-living females. This study presents preliminary data on agonistic behavior and dominance relationships for female Phayre's leaf monkeys (Trachypithecus phayrei), a species in which females routinely disperse. Behavioral observations were conducted on two groups (four adult females, and five adult females plus two juvenile females, respectively) at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, northeast Thailand. Rates of agonistic behavior were analyzed from focal continuous recordings, while dominance hierarchies were constructed from all agonistic behaviors (focal and ad libitum sampling). Overall, female–female agonistic behaviors (aggression, submission, and displacements) occurred at a rate of <0.25 interactions per hour. Agonistic interactions involving food occurred more frequently than expected based on feeding time. Females in both groups exhibited linear dominance hierarchies with some reversals, and possibly an age-inversed hierarchical structure in the larger group. The results fit well with previous results for colobine monkeys regarding frequency of interactions, displacements predominating agonistic behavior, and the possibility of an age-inversed hierarchy. The results contradict the suggested link between linearity of hierarchies and female philopatry. Future studies should consider the notion that female dispersal may coexist with linear dominance hierarchies. Am. J. Primatol. 64:351–357, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.