A comparison of adult body size between captive and wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) on the island of St. Kitts
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Weight and 34 morphological measurements were obtained from 103 vervet monkeys living either in the wild or in captive colonies derived from the wild populations on the island of St. Kitts in the Eastern Caribbean. All measures were taken during the same week, eliminating bias that might result from changing seasonal environmental conditions. Vervets on St. Kitts are all descended from a small number of individuals brought to the island approximately 400 years ago from West Africa, thus eliminating bias that might result from subspecific size differences. We conducted a principal components analysis (PCA) and compared individual traits between captive and wild adult animals. Morphological measures such as body, arm, and leg length did not differ significantly between animals living in the wild and animals in captivity. Weight and measures indicating condition-including body mass index (BMI), chest, thigh, and upper arm girth were all higher for animals living in captivity. More consistent available food is probably the cause of differences in measures reflecting condition.
KeywordsVervet monkey Adult body size Captive Wild
We are very grateful to Dr. Eugene Redmond and the staff of the St. Kitts Biomedical Research Foundation who worked with us while we were conducting this research. We acknowledge with gratitude the help of and discussion with Dr. Rafael Rodriguez of the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. We are also grateful to Yoon Jung, project manager for this collection. The comments of anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged. This research was Funded by NIH RR016300/OD010980 to Dr. Nelson Freimer, UCLA.
Compliance with ethical standards
All applicable international, national, and/or institution guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted. Protocols were approved by the Animal Research Committee at UCLA; Protocol 2009-053-02A and the IACUC of the St. Kitts Research Foundation.
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