Competition for grooming partners and interference in affiliation among female mandrills

Grooming is the most common primate affiliative behaviour, and primates compete for accessing grooming partners. We studied a captive group of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) to evaluate the role of different types of competitive interactions in shaping the distribution of grooming among females. Mandrill females preferentially groomed high-ranking individuals, but low-ranking females were less able to do so. Interference in others' grooming and a (consequent) reluctance of low-ranking females to access dominant group mates occurred frequently and contributed to the observed pattern of grooming distribution, while takeovers of grooming partners was relatively rare. Interference in others' affiliation was possibly used to prevent the formation of revolutionary alliances. Difficulties in accessing individuals already engaged in grooming exerted a strong but rank-independent effect on grooming interactions. These results highlight the role of competition in determining access to preferred social partners.

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Schino, Gabriele
Lasio, Francesca
Blackwell, Berlin , Germania
Ethology 124 (2018): 600–608. doi:10.1111/eth.12763
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Schino, Gabriele; Lasio, Francesca/titolo:Competition for grooming partners and interference in affiliation among female mandrills/doi:10.1111/eth.12763/rivista:Ethology/anno:2018/pagina_da:600/pagina_a:608/intervallo_pagine:600
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