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Keywords:

  • Asian colobine;
  • one-male group;
  • group composition;
  • monopolizability of females;
  • group size

Abstract

The number of males per group is the most variable aspect of primate social organization and is often related to the monopolizability of females, which is mainly determined by the number of females per group and their reproductive synchrony. Colobines show both inter-specific and intra-specific variations in the number of males per group. Compared with other colobine species, little is known about the social organization of white-headed langur (Trachypithecus leucocephalus), despite its endangered status and unusual limestone habitat. As a part of a long-term study of the white-headed langurs in the Nongguan Karst Hills, Guangxi, China, we quantitatively investigated their social organization by analyzing census data from 1998 to 2003. The population censuses revealed that the predominant social organization of bisexual groups was the one-male group, similar to a previous report on this species and many other Asian colobines. In such groups, one adult male associated with 5.1 adult females, 0.1 sub-adult males, 2.6 juveniles and 2.9 infants on average, with a mean group size of 11.7 individuals. In addition, three multi-male groups were recorded, consisting of 2–3 adult males, 1–5 adult females, 0–2 sub-adult males, 0–7 juveniles and 0–2 infants. They did not contain more adult females than the one-male groups and were unstable in group membership. The langurs outside bisexual groups were organized into small nonreproductive groups or lived as solitaries. The nonreproductive groups averaged 1.3 adult males, 1.3 sub-adult males and 2.6 juveniles. Juvenile females were present in such groups on 52.4% of all occasions. As predicted by the monopolization model, the prevalence of the one-male pattern in this species may mainly be attributed to the small number of females in the group. The possible reasons for the occurrence of multi-male groups and the presence of juvenile females in nonreproductive groups are also discussed. Am. J. Primatol. 71:206–213, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.