, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 27-31
Date: 18 Nov 2012

Identification of individual adult female Javan lutungs (Trachypithecus auratus sondaicus) by using patterns of dark pigmentation in the pubic area

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In a series of field surveys of wild Javan lutungs (Trachypithecus auratus sondaicus) conducted at Pangandaran Nature Reserve in West Java, Indonesia, from 2011 to 2012, we tried to use a method of individual identification by using individual-specific patterns of dark pigmentation in the pubic area. During the 2011 dry season, we used a digital SLR camera with a 400-mm telephoto lens to photograph the pubic area of each individual of a habituated group. These photographs were the basis for identifying 14 different adult females. During the rainy season of 2011 and the dry season of 2012, we checked the presence/absence of each of the identified individuals and found that these patterns were stable, at least during our study period. We found that two adult females and one adult female disappeared from the subject group between the first and second and between the second and third surveys, respectively, and that one adult female gave birth between the first and second surveys, but the infant had disappeared from the group between the second and third surveys. We could not confirm the validity of the method for juvenile females because of the dense white hair in their pubic areas and the fact that few individuals had clear patterns. Furthermore, we could not use this method for males because of the lack of pigmentation in the pubic area. As patterns of pigmentation in the pubic area are known to be present in other Trachypithecus species, our method can be useful for identification of individual adult females of these species, on which few individual-based behavioral studies have been conducted. Collecting individual-based behavioral data would enable us to track the presence of individuals in groups or movements between groups; determine the effects of social rank and age on within-group competition and copulation; and examine population data.