Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Determinants of Paternity Success in a Group of Captive Vervet Monkeys

In 2011 The International Journal of Primatology published the aforementioned paper* by Weingrill et al. that examined the reproductive skew in a group of captive vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) over a period of 2-3 years in Strasbourg. Researchers hypothesized that increased tenure length of Alpha males would decrease reproductive success. Vervet monkeys present a unique case study, as they are the only cercopithecines that live in multimale groups, in which females show no conspicuous reproductive signals. A long mating period combined with a lack of conspicuous signals suggests that ovulation in vervet monkeys is concealed. Findings by Weingrill et al. are that fertile periods do not equate to paternity success, nor do housing conditions (indoor versus outdoor sanctuary). Paternity success decreased as a function of time in alpha males, leading researchers to hypothesize that female choice played a role in their study. Also, contrary to predictions reproductive success of alpha males was among the highest found in cercopithecines, with the alpha males siring 78% of all offspring.

*Please click title for link to article.

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