Social behavior in fission–fusion groups of red uakari monkeys (Cacajao calvus ucayalii)



Primates living in large groups that divide to forage must have social systems compatible with this mode of living. Uakari monkeys (Cacajao spp.) live in large groups and exhibit a form of fission–fusion grouping, but their social organization is poorly understood. We present some of the first data on social behavior for this genus based on a study on Cacajao calvus ucayalii. They traveled in multimale multifemale groups of highly variable sizes, with bachelor units on the periphery. Adult males were affiliative, and adult females associated with more than one adult male. Adult females typically traveled with their dependent offspring and an older juvenile within the group. In parties of two or more males, individuals engaged in previously unreported display behaviors and acted together to aggressively chase other males. Breeding was seasonal, and mating occurred away from other group members. We speculate on the social organization of C. calvus ucayalii, in which dispersal may be bisexual and peripheral males are affiliative with one another. Affiliated males appear to cooperate in fighting and displaying to other males for access to females during the breeding season. Am. J. Primatol. 71:976–987, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.