Male Relationships and Infant Deaths in Red Howler Monkeys (Alouatta seniculus)



    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, and Department of Zoological Research, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, Washington
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c/o Dr. D. CHIVERS, Department of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QS, England.


For decades howler monkeys were considered to be among the most peaceful animals. Recent investigators, however, have noted that, although male aggression is rare, it may be extremely severe; the criteria used to quantify howler relationships should therefore be different from those used for other primates. This paper describes the pattern of male relationships in the red howler monkey Alouatta seniculus, and examines its effect on reproductive success within the troop and the ability of troop males to resist intrusion by competing males. 4 of the 8 infants born during the study period were killed or disappeared when change occurred in relative status between two adult males.