Troop Extinction and Female Fusion in Wild Japanese Macaques in Yakushima
Source: International Journal of Primatology, Volume 23, Number 1, February 2002 , pp. 69-84(16)
We observed three cases of troop extinction and two cases of female fusion in the wild population of Japanese macaques on Yakushima Island, Japan. Troops P and T decreased in size relatively slowly over a few years until each troop consisted of only three monkeys. Several months later, the remaining adult female of P merged with the adjacent troop S, followed by the remaining female of T. S subsequently also decreased in size and disappeared about 2 years later. In the early stage of troop decline, the mortality rate of adult females was as low as in a growing troop, but the birthrate was quite low. In the late stage of troop decline, the mortality rate increased and the birthrate remained low. An important factor leading to troop extinction may be an increase in population density and the resulting increase in intergroup competition. During the period when P and T declined and ceased to exist, the range of the adopted troop shifted to cover their previous ranges. In the fused troop, there was no severe aggression directed towards the immigrant females or harassment from residents of the adopted troop and there was affiliative social interaction between the immigrant females and resident members. These results agree with previous reports on female fusion: it occurs when the shrinking group consists of one or no adult member, and the immigrant females are not at a severe disadvantage in their adoptive group. A possible benefit for immigrant females is to avoid disadvantage of one-adult group in conflict with conspecifics. A possible cost for immigrant females is transfer to the other troop or to unfamiliar area or both. The cost to transfer to another group may not be high because the members of the adoptive troop are relatively tolerant to immigrants. The cost to transfer to unfamiliar range may be minimized by immigration to the troop whose range shifted to the immigrants' former range.
Document Type: Regular paper
Affiliations: 1: Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, 484-8506 Japan; firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Hokkaido University Forests, Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Tomakomai 053-0035 Japan 3: Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies, Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606-8502 Japan
Publication date: 2002-02-01