Allogrooming in Male-Female Pairs of Captive Owl Monkeys (Aotus nancymaae)

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Folia Primatologica (Basel)
Owl monkeys (Aotus spp.) are socially monogamous, yet allogrooming is reported to be rare. Because Aotus are nocturnal and arboreal, allogrooming is difficult to observe in natural settings. We observed 21 male-female pairs of captive Aotus nancymaae during 2 nonconsecutive study periods in order to describe the details of allogrooming between mates (partner grooming). We found that grooming bouts are brief and consist of tugging the hair or skin with flexed fingers and/or the mouth. Males groomed females most often, and their rates of partner grooming were negatively related to age. Partner grooming occurred regardless of mating behavior. Camera trap data revealed that the rate of partner grooming (1.50 bouts/h) is greater than that recorded from our direct observations in the early evenings (0.51 bouts/h, in 2013; 0.37 bouts/h in 2003) given that most bouts occurred later in the night. A positive relationship between the rates of the parents' partner grooming and those of their offspring later in life suggests intergenerational transmission. This relationship is influenced by the fathers' rates of partner grooming. We conclude that allogrooming in Aotus is a normal part of their behavioral repertoire that likely serves social functions similar to those in other pair-bonded primates.
Scouting cameras, Monogamous relationships, New world monkeys, Night monkeys, Nocturnal animals, Social behavior in animals
Wolovich, C. K., Tapanes, E., & Evans, S. (2017). Allogrooming in Male-Female Pairs of Captive Owl Monkeys (Aotus nancymaae). Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology, 88(6), 483–496.