Bailey, K. L., Bloomsmith, M. A., Michopoulos, V. et al. 2021. Influence of female coalitionary aggressive behavior on the success of male introductions to female groups of rhesus macaques (Macaca Mulatta). Applied Animal Behaviour Science 237, 105293.
Migration patterns of wild rhesus macaque males are often mimicked in captivity by introducing unfamiliar males to female groups every few years. This strategy prevents inbreeding and has been shown to encourage group stability once males are fully integrated. The current study focused on female coalitionary aggressive behavior directed toward males during introductions to describe factors that predict its frequency and any relationship with introduction success. Observational data (755 h) were collected during eight introductions of male cohorts (3–7 individuals) to established female groups (14–39 breeding-age females). Female coalitionary aggression (FCA), defined as four or more females simultaneously attacking an individual male, was recorded 114 times and occurred during all introductions. Data showed that male groups with alpha males who aggressed females during the coalitionary events were more likely to be successfully integrated than those with alpha males who did not retaliate against females. Stepwise multiple regression analyses of individual females (N = 183) revealed that females from larger groups and older females were more likely to be involved in coalitionary aggression, while rank, family size and number of matrilines in the group did not play a role. A rating system of the severity of FCA events revealed male groups receiving more severe FCA were less likely to be successfully introduced, and larger male groups received more severe FCA than did smaller groups of males. Based on these data, it is recommended that colony managers expect FCA to occur during introductions, especially with older females and larger groups. Colony managers should monitor the alpha male’s response to FCA, as well as the severity of the FCA since those factors may predict introduction success.