Student Prize Award Abstract
1995 Oral Paper Award
EFFECTS OF FAMILIARITY AND CONTEXT ON INTERACTIONS BETWEEN HETEROSEXUAL PAIRS OF TITI MONKEYS (Callicebus moloch)
E. Fernandez-Duque, W.A. Mason and C.R. Valeggia
California Regional Primate Research Center and Animal Behavior Group, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
In monogamous species, interactions between an adult male and an adult female are likely to be influenced not only by the nature of the relationship between them (for example, presence or absence of a pair bond), but also by the number and attributes of other individuals present (social context). In this study, we examined the relative contributions of an existing bond and of social context to interactions between adult heterosexual pairs of titi monkeys. Twelve adult males and 12 adult females were tested with their mates or with an unfamiliar partner of the opposite sex in five social contexts: 1- a mated male-female pair, 2- an unmated male-female pair, 3- a single female, 4- a single male, and 5- an empty cage. Results show that mated pairs had lower social distance scores across conditions (mean +/- S.E., 0.34 m +/- 0.002 m vs 0.95 m +/- 0.009 m) and more frequent affiliative interactions (physical contact, 47.4% vs 11.1%). Social context was particularly influential in mated pairs. Mated animals were closer to each other and more often in physical contact in the presence of male-female pairs or a single male, than in the presence of a single female or an empty cage. These findings suggest that the presence of strangers has a strong influence on male-female interactions only when the pair has an existing relationship.