Abstract # 7947 Event # 161:

Scheduled for Sunday, August 27, 2017 11:15 AM-11:30 AM: (National Ballroom Salon A) Oral Presentation


GRAPPLING EXPLAINED: AN INTRIGUING SOCIAL INTERACTION IN SPIDER MONKEYS (ATELES GEOFFROYI)

C. M. Schaffner1, L. Busia1, A. R. Denice2 and F. Aureli1
1Universidad Veracruzana, Instituto de Neuroetologia, Xalapa, Veracruz 91190, Mexico, 2Graduate Program in Primate Behavior, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA 98926
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     The term grappling has been used to describe two different social interactions of spider monkeys (Ateles spp.): a form of wrestling play (van Roosemalen & Klein, 1988) and a complex interaction involving elements of several behaviors including face touching, embracing, and genital touching (Eisenberg & Kuehn, 1966). Given this ambiguity, clarification is warranted for researchers to communicate effectively and better understand this intriguing, yet rare interaction. We aimed to document the patterns of the second type of grappling. We observed an individually recognized wild community of spider monkeys living in Punta Laguna in the Otoch Ma’ax yetel Kooh protected area, Yucatan, Mexico. We recorded the occurrence of grappling ad libitum from January 16 until December 10, 2014. We observed 13 grappling events in which both participants were individually recognized during approximately 800 hrs of field observation time. We observed 12 cases between males from all age categories and one case between infant females. We will show videos to demonstrate the behavioral elements involved in grappling, including face greetings, face touching, body sniffing, mutual embraces, tail wrapping, straddling of the partner, and touching of the other’s genital region. The exchange of behaviors was usually long lasting, averaging 16min 20s (range: 2 min – 37 min). Given the context of its occurrence, grappling appears to be a mechanism for relationship testing under uncertain circumstances.