Abstract # 2727 Event # 100:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 09:15 AM-09:25 AM: Session 9 (Del Mar Room) Oral Presentation


E. C. Wikberg and P. Sicotte
University of Calgary, Department of Anthropology, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N1N4, Canada

Many cercopithecines use grooming to help maintain alliances and group cohesion, but the function of grooming has not been well investigated in colobines that lack nepotistic dominance hierarchies. This study examines allogrooming in seven groups of Colobus vellerosus at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana. Focal samples were collected from May to December 2008 on 41 adult and 9 subadult females (total 380h). Females spent on average 1.8% of their time grooming and had a mean of 3.2 grooming partners. Only 36% of females exhibited reciprocal grooming behavior in which pair-wise durations of grooming directed and received were positively correlated across available partners [Spearman's rank correlations, p<0.05]. Adult females spent more time grooming with other adult females than with subadults [Wilcoxon signed ranks test, p<0.001], while subadult females did not show significant preferences for either adult or subadult grooming partners. In the seven known mother-daughter dyads, the daughters spent more time grooming their mothers than other adult females in the group [Wilcoxon signed ranks test, p<0.05]. However mothers did not bias grooming toward their daughters. Therefore both age and kinship influenced the distribution of grooming behavior in this population, but grooming may not be particularly important for maintaining group cohesion since grooming was relatively uncommon and most females formed non-reciprocal grooming relationships with only a few female partners.