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Social grooming efficiency and techniques are influenced by manual impairment in free-ranging Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata)


Social grooming efficiency and techniques are influenced by manual impairment in free-ranging Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata)

Espitia-Contreras, Jenny Paola ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4212-7133, Fedigan, Linda M. and Turner, Sarah E. (2020) Social grooming efficiency and techniques are influenced by manual impairment in free-ranging Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). PLOS ONE, 15 (2). e0228978. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0228978


Animals born with physical impairments may particularly require behavioural flexibility and innovation to survive and carry out social activities, such as grooming. Studies on free-ranging Japanese macaques on Awaji Island, Japan, have shown that individuals with congenital limb malformations exhibited compensatory behaviours while grooming, such as increased mouth and elbow use for removing ectoparasites. The aim of this study is to explore disabled and nondisabled grooming techniques to determine whether and to what extent disabled monkeys develop novel grooming techniques, and if there is disability-associated variation in grooming efficiency. We hypothesized that modified grooming techniques used by disabled monkeys fulfilled the social and relaxing functions of grooming, however, that grooming by manually impaired individuals may still carry a hygienic cost to the recipients. Grooming behavioural data were collected by video in 2007 on 27 adult females (11 with CLMs). With a detailed grooming-related ethogram, we transcribed 216 2-minute continuous grooming video samples. We analyzed the data using generalized linear mixed effects models in R. We found that monkeys with manual impairment were less efficient groomers, as measured by removal and movement efficiency during grooming. However, there were no significant differences associated with the number of grooming movements per sample among the focal animals. Additionally, with a behavioural sequential analysis, we isolated 8 distinct grooming techniques and 3 novel disability-specific movements. Our results indicate that innovation and modification of movement types does not entirely compensate for manual disability, and that manual impairment carries a cost to the hygienic function of grooming. However, for the grooming recipient, the experience of being groomed by a disabled or nondisabled groomer is likely similar, and through movement compensation, disabled monkeys are able to engage in the social aspect of grooming without incurring any disability-associated costs.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Article
Authors:Espitia-Contreras, Jenny Paola and Fedigan, Linda M. and Turner, Sarah E.
Journal or Publication:PLOS ONE
  • Concordia Open Access Author Fund
  • Fonds de Récherche de Québec— Nature et Technologies (FRQNT Grant #25467)
  • The Leakey Foundation
  • Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship
  • Animal Behavior Society
  • Province of Alberta Graduate Scholarships
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Calgary Dept. of Anthropology
  • NSERC (post-graduate scholarship B)
  • Canada Research Chairs Programme
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1371/journal.pone.0228978
ID Code:986927
Deposited By: Krista Alexander
Deposited On:26 Jun 2020 14:15
Last Modified:26 Jun 2020 14:15


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