, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 1229-1249

Male and Female Reproductive Success in Macaca sylvanus in Gibraltar: No Evidence for Rank Dependence

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Abstract

The relationship between social rank and reproductive success is one of the key questions for understanding differences in primate social group structures. We determined the paternity of 18 infants in a social group of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) born over a period of 6 yr in the provisioned, free-ranging colony in Gibraltar. We successfully used 13 pairs of primers of variable microsatellite loci to amplify DNA from blood and hair samples and applied the computer programs CERVUS 2.0 and KINSHIP 1.3 to assign paternity to 13 candidate males. We collected data for 19 females that had given birth to 66 infants over a period of 7 yr. We used paternity analyses and female birth records to test the hypothesis that social rank is correlated with reproductive success. Results showed that numbers of paternities and maternities were equally distributed among all reproducing individuals in the social group regardless of rank. Subadult males reproduced as often as adult males. High-ranking females did not start to reproduce earlier than low-ranking females. Interestingly, there was a tendency toward a positive correlation between the ranks of mothers and the ranks of the corresponding fathers. It might be concluded either that a correlation between social rank and reproductive success is generally absent in Barbary macaques or that artificially favorable environmental conditions in Gibraltar preclude any correlation between social rank and reproductive success.