1 Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Biology, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, Changsha Hunan 410004,China2 College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha Hunan 410004, China3 Shennongjia National Park, Shennongjia Forest District, Shennongjia Hubei 442411, China4 National Forest Inventory and Design Institute, Beijing 100714, ChinaABSTRACT
Relaxed open-mouth display serves important social functions in relation to submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance among non-human primate societies; however, quantitative evidence on this behavior remains insufficient among multi-level social groups. From July to November 2016, we examined four potential functions of the relaxed open-mouth display during pairwise, intra-unit social interactions among 18 free-ranging adult and sub-adult golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) who belonged to three one-male, multi-female units (OMU) at Dalongtan, Shennongjia National Park, China. Results showed that: compared with no relaxed open-mouth display, (1) the occurrence of displacement by a dominant individual approaching a subordinate was lower and the distance of the subordinate to the approaching dominant was shorter when the subordinate showed open-mouth display; (2) relaxed open-mouth display reduced the probability of continued attack for victims of aggression and allowed victims to achieve closer proximity to the aggressor during post-conflict periods; (3) relaxed open-mouth display by dominant individuals allowed them to achieve closer proximity to subordinates; and (4) the exchange of relaxed open-mouth display had a greater impact on the outcome of interactions than one individual alone giving this signal. These findings suggest that relaxed open-mouth display serves important functions regarding submission, reconciliation, affiliation and reassurance in coordinating social interactions within OMUs in golden snub-nosed monkeys.