Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2015 Nov 16;10(11):e0142150.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142150. eCollection 2015.

The Season for Peace: Reconciliation in a Despotic Species (Lemur Catta)

Affiliations
Free PMC article

The Season for Peace: Reconciliation in a Despotic Species (Lemur Catta)

Elisabetta Palagi et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

However despotic a social group may be, managing conflicts of interest is crucial to preserve group living benefits, mainly based on cooperation. In despotic groups, post-conflict management via reconciliation (the first post-conflict reunion between former opponents) can occur, even if conciliatory rates are considerably different. Lemur catta is defined as a despotic species because groups are characterized by a strict linear hierarchy maintained by the adult females (the dominant sex) mainly via aggression. Reconciliation was reported in one out of four captive groups of L. catta. Here we investigate which variables influence the occurrence of reconciliation in these despotic groups. We analyzed 2339 Post Conflict (PC)-Matched Control (MC) observation pairs, collected on eight groups (five in the Berenty forest, Madagascar; three hosted at the Pistoia Zoo, Italy). Since L. catta is characterized by steep female dominance but shows female-female coalitionary support, we expected to confirm the presence of reconciliation in the study species. Consistently, we found reconciliation in one captive group and two wild groups, thus providing the first evidence of the presence of this phenomenon in wild L. catta. Moreover, because this species is a seasonal breeder (with mating occurring once a year), we expected seasonal fluctuations in reconciliation levels. Via a GLMM analysis using data from all wild groups and on a captive group followed for more than one year, we found that season (but not rank; individuals' identity, sex, and age; or group identity) significantly affected individual reconciliation rates, and such rates were lowest during the mating period. Thus, reconciliation can be present in groups in which dominants strongly influence and limit social relationships (steep dominance hierarchy) except when the advantages of intra-group cooperation are overcome by competition, as occurs in seasonal breeders when reproduction is at stake. We conclude that in despotic social groups in which coalitions are observed, the right question is not if but when reconciliation can be present.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Figures

Fig 1
Fig 1. Box plot showing the significant difference (Exact Wilcoxon’s test, p<0.05) between the number of attracted versus dispersed pairs in the Lemur catta troop Cc (November 2003-February 2005), observed at the Pistoia Zoo (Italy).
Solid horizontal lines indicate medians; the length of the boxes corresponds to inter-quartile range; thin horizontal lines indicate range of observed values.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Box plot showing the significant difference (Exact Wilcoxon’s test, p<0.05) between the number of attracted versus dispersed pairs in two wild Lemur catta troops (Cw: May-July 2008, Fig 2a on the left; Ew: March-April 2011, Fig 2b on the right) observed in the Berenty Forest (Madagascar).
Solid horizontal lines indicate medians; the length of the boxes corresponds to inter-quartile range; thin horizontal lines indicate range of observed values.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Output of the best model explaining the distribution of Corrected Conciliatory Tendencies (CCT %, scalar target variable) for all the study groups.
AICc = 430, 295. Season: 1 = lactation; 2 = pre-mating; 3 = mating; 4 = pregnancy. Sex: 0 = male; 1 = female. Age class: 0 = subadult; 1 = adult. Rank range: 1–16 (rank position is relative to each group). aRedundant coefficients. Please refer to S1 Fig in the Supporting Information for a full size version of Fig 3.
Fig 4
Fig 4. SPSS 20.0 output bar graph showing estimated means of Corrected Conciliatory Tendency (CCT, %) for the significant effect (season: 1 = lactation; 2: pre-mating; 3 = mating; 4 = pregnancy), for all the study groups.
Season is the only factor that significantly influences the CCT distribution in the study groups (GLMM; F = 0.718, df1 = 73, df2 = 40, p = 0.890). The conciliatory tendency % is lowest during mating.
Fig 5
Fig 5. Output of the best model explaining the distribution of Corrected Conciliatory Tendencies (CCT %, scalar target variable) for group Cc.
AICc = 398.767. Season: 1 = lactation; 2 = pre-mating; 3 = mating; 4 = pregnancy. Sex: 0 = male; 1 = female. Age class: 0 = subadult; 1 = adult. aRedundant coefficients.
Fig 6
Fig 6. SPSS 20.0 output bar graph showing estimated means of Corrected Conciliatory Tendency (CCT, %) for the significant effect (season: 1 = lactation; 2: pre-mating; 3 = mating; 4 = pregnancy), for group Cc.
Season is the only factor that significantly influences the CCT distribution in the study groups (GLMM; F = 1.674, df1 = 15, df2 = 36, p = 0.102). The conciliatory tendency % is lowest during mating.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 3 articles

References

    1. Galtung J (1969) Violence, peace, and peace research. J Peace Research 6: 167–191.
    1. Bygott J, Bertram B, Hanby J (1979) Male lions in large coalitions gain reproductive advantages. Nature 282: 839–841.
    1. Clutton-Brock T (1998) Reproductive skew, concessions and limited control. Trends Ecol Evol 13: 288–292. - PubMed
    1. Duffy KG, Wrangham RW, Silk JB (2007) Male chimpanzees exchange political support for mating opportunities. Curr Biol 17: R586– R587. - PubMed
    1. Cordoni G, Palagi E (2008). Reconciliation in wolves (Canis lupus): new evidence for a comparative perspective. Ethology 114: 298–308.

Publication types

Grant support

The authors only received reimbursement for travel and accommodation fees from Giardino Zoologico di Pistoia, Parco Zoo Falconara (Falconara, Italy), and Parco Zoo Punta Verde (Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy). No official grant or funding (with grant numbers) was obtained and no salary was received for the investigation, which was carried out with the authors' own funds.
Feedback