Hiding Behaviour of Longtailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis). I. Theoretical Background and Data on Mating


Zoologisches Institut der Universität Zürich, Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.


During an observational study of captive longtailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), the ability to hide was analysed within the social context of mating. Low- and middle-ranking males and their female partners chose places for mating where they were partly or entirely concealed more often than easily visible places. These places were not the preferred places of either sex in general, although it was also observed that lower-ranking animals of both sexes lead a more inconspicuous life than high-ranking animals. The probable mechanisms of this phenomenon are discussed: trial-and-error learning or a simple rule of thumb seem to be the appropriate explanations since the choice between different structures of hiding places is not as sharply defined as would be expected if ‘perspective taking’ were the mechanism.