Reciprocation and interchange of grooming, agonistic support, feeding tolerance, and aggression in semi-free-ranging Barbary macaques



Evidence from a range of primate species indicates that grooming can be exchanged either for itself or for other rank-related “commodities,” such as agonistic support, feeding tolerance, or reduced aggression. Patterns of exchange behavior have been found to vary considerably between species, and understanding the causes of this variation is central to the study of the evolution of primate social systems. It is, therefore, essential that exchange behavior is examined in a wide range of species and settings. This article is the first to explore the reciprocation and interchange of grooming in the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus). We collected focal data on semi-free-ranging adult female Barbary macaques at Trentham Monkey Forest, England, and analyzed dyadic data using Generalized Linear Mixed Models. We found evidence for the reciprocal exchange of grooming and for the interchange of grooming for agonistic support and tolerance while feeding. There was no evidence that grooming was traded for a reduction in aggression; indeed, we found a positive relationship between aggression given and grooming received. This may reflect the “extortion” of grooming from subordinates by dominant animals. These results will facilitate comparative analyses of exchange behavior by adding to the current database a new species, characterized by a different social style from those macaque species previously investigated. Am. J. Primatol. 73:1127–1133, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.