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Anxiety in Geoffroy's spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi): Can scratching be used as an indicator?

Dell'Anna, F, Schino, G and Aureli, F (2022) Anxiety in Geoffroy's spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi): Can scratching be used as an indicator? American Journal of Primatology. ISSN 0275-2565

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Abstract

Self-directed behavior, such as self-scratching (hereafter, scratching), occurs in several taxa across the animal kingdom, including nonhuman primates. There is substantial evidence that scratching is an indicator of anxiety-like emotions in a variety of nonhuman primate species. Despite its importance as a window into emotional states, few studies have investigated scratching in Platyrrhines. We investigated scratching patterns of 24 Geoffroy's spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) belonging to a group living in the Otoch Ma'ax Yetel Kooh protected area in the Yucatàn peninsula (Mexico). We assessed whether scratching could be used as an indicator of anxiety levels in this species by testing predictions based on contexts and behaviors associated with risk and uncertainty. We found no effect of the subject's sex and age, subgroup size, male presence, and the occurrence of fusions between subgroups on scratching rates. Similarly, we found no effect of infant proximity on their mother's scratching rates. Supporting our prediction, we found evidence that isolation from conspecifics affected scratching rates as individuals scratched more frequently the more time they spent isolated. Being in proximity with a partner with a relationship characterized by uncertainty affected scratching rates as individuals scratched more frequently when in proximity with a partner with whom they engaged in embraces (an indicator of uncertainty) than when in proximity with a partner with whom they did not exchange embraces. Our study provides insight into the factors affecting scratching in Geoffroy's spider monkeys, suggesting that scratching may indicate anxiety in this species at least in some contexts and thus opening a window into the emotional experience of another Platyrrhine monkey species.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dell'Anna, F., Schino, G., & Aureli, F. (2022). Anxiety in Geoffroy's spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi): Can scratching be used as an indicator? American Journal of Primatology, e23373. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23373, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23373. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: anxiety; scratching; self-directed behavior; spider monkeys; uncertainty; 0608 Zoology; 1601 Anthropology; Behavioral Science & Comparative Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2022 12:04
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2022 12:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.1002/ajp.23373
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17107

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