Post-Conflict Behavior in Ringtailed Lemurs (Lemur catta): Anxiety and Reconciliation
Fullman, Robin L.
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Post-conflict behavior has become a central focus of many primate studies to learn more about the non-physical consequences associated with intragroup competition. Most primate species exhibit increased levels of anxiety, expressed through an increase in self-directed behavior rates, following agonistic interactions. In addition, most primate species also demonstrate reconciliation, the positive interaction between former opponents following conflict. This study examines post-conflict behavior of ringtailed lemurs, Lemur catta, a primate species in which anxiety has not been studied and reconciliation has failed to be documented. This study attempts to determine if ringtailed lemurs experience anxiety that is expressed through increased rates of self-directed behaviors and to reconfirm that this species does not experience reconciliation. During 10-minute focal observations, all social interactions following a conflict are recorded and compared with normal rates of activity. Data suggest that ringtailed lemurs do experience some sort of anxiety following a conflict. Increased levels of yawning, self-grooming, and scratching are documented following an agonistic interaction. Data also suggest that being aggressor or victim of the conflict influences rates of self-directed behaviors. Also strength of relationship between opponents does not appear to affect rates of self-directed behaviors. In addition, neither intensity of the initial conflict nor giving nor receiving further aggression correlate with self-directed behavior levels. Finally, data confirm that reconciliation does not take place in ringtailed lemurs, and value of the relationship does not significantly affect reconciliation.
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