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Allogrooming and Interindividual Proximity in Two Species of Macaques (Macaca Fascicularis and M. Nemestrina)

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This study analysed relationships between allogrooming and spatial proximity in two captive groups of congeneric species of monkeys, the Java monkey and the pigtail macaque. Its methodological features were as follows: 1) proximity during grooming was not recorded; 2) dyadic scores, not individual totals, were entered into statistical analysis; and 3) baseline proximity was computed in order to assess the effects of proximity on grooming and of grooming on proximity. Significant positive correlations between allogrooming and overall proximity were found in both monkey groups. In the Java monkeys, proximity rates recorded 1 minute before and after grooming were significantly higher than baseline proximity. In the pigtails, significant differences with respect to baseline proximity were found for the 2nd and 1 st minute before grooming and for the first four minutes after grooming. However, the finding of a significant positive correlation between allogrooming and baseline proximity (i.e. proximity temporally-independent of grooming) indicated that the two behaviours were not correlated merely as a result of the short-term causal relations between them. The results of this study suggest the existence of two types of allogrooming: one is elicited by proximity and influences the subsequent spatial relationships between the partners; the other is not related to proximity by a time-order sequence but expresses the same mutual preference.

Affiliations: 1: Cattedra di Clinica Psichiatrica, 11 Università di Roma and Cattedra di Ecologia ed Etologia Animale, Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy


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