Social bonds affect anti-predator behaviour in a tolerant species of macaque, Macaca nigra

Jerome Micheletta, Bridget Waller, M. Panggur, C. Neumann, J. Duboscq, M. Agil, A. Engelhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enduring positive social bonds between individuals are crucial for humans' health and well being. Similar bonds can be found in a wide range of taxa, revealing the evolutionary origins of humans' social bonds. Evidence suggests that these strong social bonds can function to buffer the negative effects of living in groups, but it is not known whether they also function to minimize predation risk. Here, we show that crested macaques (Macaca nigra) react more strongly to playbacks of recruitment alarm calls (i.e. calls signalling the presence of a predator and eliciting cooperative mobbing behaviour) if they were produced by an individual with whom they share a strong social bond. Dominance relationships between caller and listener had no effect on the reaction of the listener. Thus, strong social bonds may improve the coordination and efficiency of cooperative defence against predators, and therefore increase chances of survival. This result broadens our understanding of the evolution and function of social bonds by highlighting their importance in the anti-predator context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4042-4050
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1744
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • social bonds
  • predation
  • mobbing
  • alarm call
  • anti-predator behaviour
  • Macaca nigra
  • friendship
  • dominance


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