Pair formation of adults (photos 27-35)

 

 Photo 27: Pair formation protocol for previously single-caged adult rhesus macaques

While individually caged adults readily accept juveniles as companions, adult conspecifics are likely to trigger overt aggression [Southwick et al., 1974; Line, 1987]. This xenophobic response is often used as a warning against pair formation. Coe [1991] for example, makes the following prediction: "Especially when new pairs are formed and dominance relationships are being established, there is a strong likelihood that the veterinarian will be kept quite busy suturing wounds." Rosenberg & Kesel [1994] make a similar assertion cautioning that "when adult rhesus monkeys are first paired ... there are always injuries incurred."

It would contradict basic ethological principles to put two strange rhesus in a cage and wait for the predictable, possibly injurious fight over dominance [e.g., Maxim, 1976].
Why not allow two strangers to first establish their dominance-subordination relationship without risk of injuring each other during a non-contact familiarization period? They will not have to fight 'again' over dominance but rather can engage in affiliative social interaction when being transferred to a new home cage [Reinhardt, 1988].

 

 

Photos 28 & 29: Two adult male rhesus macaques in a double cage with grated partition (photo 28) allowing non-contact familiarization. Partners can see but not touch each other (photo 29). In most cases they will establish a clear-cut dominance-subordination relationship without injuring each other within 24 hours [Reinhardt, 1989a,1994a].

 


How do you know that two animals
have established a dominance-subordination relationship?

 

 

 


Photos 30 & 31: (1) Looking away (photo 30) and grinning (photo 31) are shown in an unidirectional manner by the subordinate partner.

 

 

 


Photos 32 & 33: (2) grimacing (photo 32) and moving out of the way (photo 33) are shown in an unidirectional manner by the subordinate partner.

 

 

 


Photos 34 & 35: (3) Staring (photo 34) and threatening (photo 35) are not reliable signs for an established dominance-subordination relationship. These gestures often occur in a bidirectional manner and may serve as a mere bluff.


Newly introduced partners and pair compatibility (photos 36-44)

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