Abstract # 3151 Event # 150:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 04:45 PM-05:00 PM: Session 21 (Meeting Room 408) Oral Presentation


DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME: PROXIMITY AS A MEDIATOR OF MALE- MALE INTERACTIONS IN VERVET MONKEYS (CHLOROCEBUS AETHIOPS)

A. D. Takahashi1, L. Barrett1, S. Pellis2 and P. Henzi1
1University of Lethbridge, Department of Psychology, Lethbridge, Canada, 2Department of Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge, Canada
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     In this study, we investigated how male vervet monkeys negotiate their social interactions during the mating season. Specifically, we aimed to test the proximate mechanisms that might influence the production and intensity of threat displays, and how these are mediated by proximity. Interactions were video-recorded over two mating seasons (Apr- June, 2009 & 2010) on two habituated troops (mean number of males per troop: 14.8) in the Samara Game Reserve, South Africa. A total of 109 of 286 approach-leave interactions involved a threat display by one or both males. Videos were scored using a modified version of Eshkol-Wachmann Notation. Results show that threat displays were significantly more likely to occur within the zone of proximity predicted by vervet males’ weaponry (teeth and hands) (x²= 94.445, df= 4, p < 0.001). When threats were broken down by intensity, however, the distribution of high, medium and low intensity displays did not vary with proximity (K-S pairwise tests: high-medium: K-S = 0.6, p = 0.35; medium-low: K-S = 0.4, p = 0.81; high-low: K-S = 0.6, p = 0.35), suggesting that arousal levels of the threatening male are mediated not only by proximity to an opponent, but are also contingent on the opponent’s arousal level and response. Supported by NSERC (CGS 393337-2010).