Abstract # 3152 Event # 122:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2011 09:30 AM-09:45 AM: Session 17 (Meeting Room 408) Oral Presentation


A LINK BETWEEN SEXUAL SKIN COLOR AND SECONDARY SEXUAL CHARACTERISTICS AMONG FREE RANGING MALE VERVET MONKEYS (CHLOROCEBUS AETHIOPS PYGERYTHRUS)

J. Danzy1, J. P. Grobler2, T. J. Gaetano1, C. A. Schmitt3, J. Lorenz4, N. Freimer3 and T. R. Turner1
1University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Department of Anthropology, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA, 2Department of Genetics, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein South Africa, 3Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles CA 90095, 4Department of Anthropology, Central Washington University, Ellensburg WA 98926
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Male coloration functions as a socio-sexual signal in a variety of species. Our understanding of scrotal color in vervet monkeys is based largely on experimental work on captive C. a. sabaeus which is notably less colorful than C. a. pygerythrus. The aim of this project is to identify scrotal color variability and morphological correlates of color among free-ranging vervets. We previously reported that scrotal color develops in a particular trajectory in C.a. pygerythrus, with infant and young males being bluish gray and moving toward bright aquamarine or blue or indigo coloration as adults. Here we report on 97 adult vervet males that were sampled at 19 sites in South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia between 2001 and 2010. Testes volume, body weight, and digital photographs of scrota were collected. Using Adobe Photoshop CS4, three color components (hue, saturation, and brightness) were quantified. All statistical analyses were conducted using JMP v.8. Using Pearson’s correlation tests, our results indicate that males with aquamarine coloration have larger relative testes volume than males with bluish coloration (r=.-45, p<.001). Coloration and relative testes size are not correlated in C. a. sabaeus (n=30, r=.07, p=.71),, but are correlated in C. a. pygerythrus, suggesting that scrotal color may signal different aspects of male quality and condition in this subspecies. This research was supported in part by NSF BCS0629321 and NIH R01RR016300.