The association between rank, mating effort, and reproductive success in male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)
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- Paul, A., Kuester, J., Timme, A. et al. Primates (1993) 34: 491. doi:10.1007/BF02382660
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The association between social rank, mating effort, and reproductive success of male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) has been evaluated by longterm behavioral observations and subsequent paternity determination via oligonucleotide DNA fingerprinting in a large semifreeranging group. All offspring born between 1985 and 1988 that survived to at least 1 year of age (n=75) were available for paternity testing. The exclusion of all but one of the potential fathers from paternity was possible in 70 cases (93%). Mating activities were recorded using ad lib. and focal female sampling techniques. The analysis of male mating effort was restricted to the most likely days of conception. Male rank correlated significantly with male mating success in all four breeding seasons and with male reproductive success in three of the four seasons. Mating success and reproductive success also showed a significant correlation, with the exception of one breeding season, in which the proportion of males per fertilizable female was especially high. Poor mating success was almost always associated with poor reproductive success, while good mating success was less predictive for a male's actual reproductive success. This was apparently a consequence of sperm competition, resulting from the promiscuous mating system. Male mating success is not necessarily an unreliable indicator for reproductive success, provided that sufficient sample sizes are available and that conception periods can be determined. Sperm competition and other factors may weaken the association, however.