Testing for links between face color and age, dominance status, parity, weight, and intestinal nematode infection in a sample of female Japanese macaques

Lucie Rigaill, Andrew J.J. MacIntosh, James P. Higham, Sandra Winters, Keiko Shimizu, Keiko Mouri, Takafumi Suzumura, Takeshi Furuichi, Cécile Garcia

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Studies of the role of secondary sexual ornaments in mate choice tend to focus on colorful traits in males, but females of many animal species express colorful ornamentation too. Among non-human primates, investigations into the role of female secondary sexual traits as indicators of life history characteristics, reproductive success, and health status have mostly focused on sexual swellings, whereas only few studies have been conducted on the role of facial color. Recent studies on rhesus macaques and mandrills suggested that female ornamentation might provide information about female life history characteristics, but not on disease resistance factors and parasite infection, which have been shown to affect male ornamentation in some non-primate species. In Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata), females have brightly colored faces that are indicative of their reproductive status. Here, we aimed to determine whether female facial color might also convey information about age, dominance rank, parity, weight, and intestinal nematode infection in free-ranging individuals. We analyzed whether female facial parameters (luminance and redness) were linked to these individual characteristics, using digital photography and data on intestinal parasite infection collected systematically during 1 month for each of seven free-ranging females. We found no evidence to suggest that female facial color is an indicator of any of these measures in Japanese macaques. Considering our small data set, it is still preliminary to draft any clear conclusions. Future studies combining digital, hormonal, parasitological and behavioral data are needed to assess the possible role of female face color on male preferences and mating choice in Japanese macaques.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)83-91
    Number of pages9
    JournalPrimates
    Volume58
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

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    Keywords

    • Macaca fuscata
    • Secondary sexual ornaments
    • Sexual selection
    • Signaling

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology

    Cite this

    Rigaill, L., MacIntosh, A. J. J., Higham, J. P., Winters, S., Shimizu, K., Mouri, K., Suzumura, T., Furuichi, T., & Garcia, C. (2017). Testing for links between face color and age, dominance status, parity, weight, and intestinal nematode infection in a sample of female Japanese macaques. Primates, 58(1), 83-91. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-016-0575-6