Formidable females redux: male social integration into female networks and the value of dynamic multilayer networks

Bonnell, T.R., Vilette, C., Young, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-8919-2093, Henzi, S.P. and Barrett, L., 2021. Formidable females redux: male social integration into female networks and the value of dynamic multilayer networks. Current Zoology, 67 (1), pp. 49-57. ISSN 1674-5507

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The development of multilayer network techniques is a boon for researchers who wish to understand how different interaction layers might influence each other, and how these in turn might influence group dynamics. Here, we investigate how integration between male and female grooming and aggression interaction networks influences male power trajectories in vervet monkeys Chlorocebus pygerythrus. Our previous analyses of this phenomenon used a monolayer approach, and our aim here is to extend these analyses using a dynamic multilayer approach. To do so, we constructed a temporal series of male and female interaction layers. We then used a multivariate multilevel autoregression model to compare cross-lagged associations between a male’s centrality in the female grooming layer and changes in male Elo ratings. Our results confirmed our original findings: changes in male centrality within the female grooming network were weakly but positively tied to changes in their Elo ratings. However, the multilayer network approach offered additional insights into this social process, identifying how changes in a male’s centrality cascade through the other network layers. This dynamic view indicates that the changes in Elo ratings are likely to be short-lived, but that male centrality within the female network had a much stronger impact throughout the multilayer network as a whole, especially on reducing intermale aggression (i.e., aggression directed by males toward other males). We suggest that multilayer social network approaches can take advantage of increased amounts of social data that are more commonly collected these days, using a variety of methods. Such data are inherently multilevel and multilayered, and thus offer the ability to quantify more precisely the dynamics of animal social behaviors.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Current Zoology
Creators: Bonnell, T.R., Vilette, C., Young, C., Henzi, S.P. and Barrett, L.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date: February 2021
Volume: 67
Number: 1
ISSN: 1674-5507
Rights: © the author(s) (2020). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Editorial Office, Current Zoology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 16 Nov 2021 16:01
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 16:01

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