Abstract # 117:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 12 (Ball Rooms A and B) Poster Presentation

Grooming behavior of Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) in the presence of tourists at Mt. Huangshan, China

H. Mack1, M. D. Matheson1, L. K. Sheeran1, J. H. Li2 and R. S. Wagner1
1Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington 98926, USA, 2Anhui University
     Among non-human primates, grooming behaviors have been hypothesized to serve many functions including stress reduction, social bonding, and ectoparasite removal. This study was conducted to assess whether tourist presence affects the rates of grooming among Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, Anhui Province, China. Observations were conducted from August 5-26, 2007 with a total of 53.25 h of data recorded. Analyses of these data indicate adult males performed 1.55% (8/515), adult females 40.58% (209/515), and juveniles 57.86% (298/515) of grooming bouts. At the group level, Binomial Sign Tests showed [a=0.05] when no tourists were present there were and average of 8.77 grooming bouts per hour, significantly fewer than 10.79 bouts per hour when tourists were present . There were also an average of 5.77 self-grooming bouts per hour with no tourists, which was significantly fewer than 8.66 bouts per hour when tourists were present. Across 35 observation periods with tourists present, the mean number of tourists positively correlated with self grooming [r(33)=0.35, p=0.04], but not with social grooming [r(33)=0.26,  p=0.13]. Broken down by age/sex class of groomer, the mean number of tourists present showed a trend to be correlated with grooming by adult females [r(33)=0.32, p=0.06], but not juveniles [r(33)=0.14, p=0.42]. Adult males did not initiate social grooming. However, tourist density correlated with self-grooming by adult males [r(33)=0.35, p=0.04], but not adult females [r(33)=0.24, p=0.17] or juveniles [r(33)=0.26, p=0.13].