It has been suggested that social relationships are more likely to be prone to variation in the dispersing sex than the philopatric sex. However, we know less about the dynamics of all-male groups in male-dispersing species than we do about other types of primate groups. We studied male sociality in a captive group of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana), which was composed of a one-male unit (OMU, N = 7) and an all-male unit (AMU, N = 7 or 8), in Shanghai Wild Animal Park, China. Using data collected for 6 months, during which there was a demographic change in the AMU and the alpha male was replaced by a newcomer, we found that a dramatic change in social ranks occurred accompanied by elevated aggression following this social upheaval. A proximity-based social network analysis revealed that members did not associate randomly any more but formed differentiated relationships post-upheaval, resulting in three distinct sub-units in the AMU. In terms of inter-unit interactions, significant changes were found in the affiliations between the male juvenile of OMU and AMU individuals. He interacted with AMU individuals randomly and frequently pre-upheaval, but cut down his affiliations and had a preferred partner post-upheaval, who was a member of the dominant male’s sub-unit. Our findings suggest that social networks in the dispersing sex are dynamic structures and vary by some demographic change (e.g., individual immigration) in the studied species. We also put forward that individual dominance could be a criterion when the male juvenile chooses partners before he immigrates into a group. In conclusion, the high level of behavioral flexibility of the dispersing sex could be an evolutional strategy and good for individuals’ future dispersing life.
Primates – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2018
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