Abstract # 67:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 8 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation

Affiliative Behavior in Captive Rhesus Macaques as a Function of Infant Presence

N. Klepper-Kilgore
Mount Ida College, 777 Dedham Street, Newton, MA 02459, USA
     Social interactions were observed in a captive breeding group of 8 female and 1 male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) at the New England Primate Center. In this breeding colony, infants remain with their mothers until about age 6 months, when they are removed to peer groups. It was hypothesized that the seasonal presence of infants might enrich the environment of the adults by promoting species-typical affiliative behaviors such as grooming. Focal samples of social interactions and nonsocial activity were collected over the course of 1 year, in addition to scan samples of contact and proximity. Approximately 250 minutes of focal data and about 200 scans were collected for each subject. Durations of grooming and contact with specific partners were compared in the absence and presence of infants. Wilcoxon paired-sample signed ranks tests showed nonsignificant differences in the total duration of adult grooming and adult stationary contact under the two conditions. For some subjects, rates of adult affiliative interactions declined when infants were present. However, several adults showed increased associations in the presence of infants. These increased affiliations may be accounted for by association of mothers with infants of similar age, and by attractiveness of very young infants. These data do not indicate consistent increases or decreases in adult affiliative behavior in either the presence or absence of infants. Subjects of this study were supported by PHS grant P51RR00168-44 to the New England Primate Research Center.