Zoological Research ›› 2019, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 113-120.doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.043

Special Issue: Primates

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Social functions of relaxed open-mouth display in golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)

You-Ji Zhang1,2,#, Yi-Xin Chen1,#, Hao-Chun Chen1, Yuan Chen1, Hui Yao3, Wan-Ji Yang1,3, Xiang-Dong Ruan4, Zuo-Fu Xiang1,2,*   

  1. 1 Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Biology, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, Changsha Hunan 410004,
    2 College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha Hunan 410004, China
    3 Shennongjia National Park, Shennongjia Forest District, Shennongjia Hubei 442411, China
    4 National Forest Inventory and Design Institute, Beijing 100714, China
  • Online:2019-03-18 Published:2019-01-11
  • Contact: Zuo-Fu Xiang,E-mail:xiangzf@csuft.edu.cn E-mail:xiangzf@csuft.edu.cn
  • Supported by:

Abstract: Relaxed open-mouth display serves important social functions in relation to submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance among non-human primate societies; however, quantitative evidence on this behavior remains insufficient among multi-level social groups. From July to November 2016, we examined four potential functions of the relaxed open-mouth display during pairwise, intra-unit social interactions among 18 free-ranging adult and sub-adult golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) who belonged to three one-male, multi-female units (OMU) at Dalongtan, Shennongjia National Park, China. Results showed that: compared with no relaxed open-mouth display, (1) the occurrence of displacement by a dominant individual approaching a subordinate was lower and the distance of the subordinate to the approaching dominant was shorter when the subordinate showed open-mouth display; (2) relaxed open-mouth display reduced the probability of continued attack for victims of aggression and allowed victims to achieve closer proximity to the aggressor during post-conflict periods; (3) relaxed open-mouth display by dominant individuals allowed them to achieve closer proximity to subordinates; and (4) the exchange of relaxed open-mouth display had a greater impact on the outcome of interactions than one individual alone giving this signal. These findings suggest that relaxed open-mouth display serves important functions regarding submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance in coordinating social interactions within OMUs in golden snub-nosed monkeys.

Key words: Golden snub-nosed monkeys, Open-mouth, Submission, Reconciliation, Affiliation, Reassurance

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