Male characteristics as predictors of genital color and display variation in vervet monkeys

Young, M.M.I., Winters, S., Young, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-8919-2093, Weiß, B.M., Troscianko, J., Ganswindt, A., Barrett, L., Henzi, S.P., Higham, J.P. and Widdig, A., 2020. Male characteristics as predictors of genital color and display variation in vervet monkeys. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 74 (2): 14. ISSN 0340-5443

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Abstract

In the animal kingdom, conspicuous colors are often used for inter-and intra-sexual communication. Even though primates are the most colorful mammalian taxon, many questions, including what potential information color signals communicate to social partners, are not fully understood. Vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) are ideal to examine the covariates of color signals. Males have multi-colored genitals, which they present during distinctive male-male interactions, known as the "Red-White-and-Blue" (RWB) display, but the genitals are also visible across a variety of other contexts, and it is unclear what this color display signals to recipients. We recorded genital color presentations and standardized digital photos of male genitals (N = 405 photos) over one mating season for 20 adult males in three groups at the Samara Private Game Reserve, South Africa. We combined these with data on male characteristics (dominance, age, tenure length, injuries, and fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations). Using visual modeling methods, we measured single colors (red, white, blue) but also the contrasts between colors. We assessed the frequency of the RWB genital display and male variation in genital coloration and linked this to male characteristics. Our data suggest that the number of genital displays increased with male dominance. However, none of the variables investigated explained the inter-and intra-individual variation in male genital coloration. These results suggest that the frequency of the RWB genital display, but not its color value, is related to dominance, providing valuable insights on covariation in color signals and their display in primates. Significance statement Conspicuous colors in animals often communicate individual quality to mates and rivals. By investigating vervet monkeys, a primate species in which males present their colorful genitals within several behavioral displays, we aim to identify the covariates Communicated by E. Huchard Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Creators: Young, M.M.I., Winters, S., Young, C., Weiß, B.M., Troscianko, J., Ganswindt, A., Barrett, L., Henzi, S.P., Higham, J.P. and Widdig, A.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 8 January 2020
Volume: 74
Number: 2
ISSN: 0340-5443
Identifiers:
NumberType
1492643Other
Rights: © the author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 17 Nov 2021 10:59
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 10:59
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44847

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